Will Missouri Transportation Policy Catch up with the 21st Century?
Missouri is one of five states without comprehensive ridesharing legislation on the books or pending approval, which places the Show-Me state at a competitive disadvantage. While most of the country reaps the benefits of a burgeoning ridesharing economy, drivers and riders in Missouri must navigate a maze of burdensome regulations to operate and ride—if they can at all.
Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) are firms that use information technology to connect drivers and riders through a smartphone application. The most prominent TNCs nationwide and here in Missouri are Uber and Lyft. TNCs allow drivers to use their personal vehicles to provide prearranged rides to customers who agree to a set fare prior to engaging the driver. TNCs have proved popular, efficient, and affordable in major cities across the county and world. They also provide economic opportunity: Uber estimates it could have as many as 10,000 drivers in Missouri if statewide regulations are approved.
Proposed legislation, in the form of House Bill 130 (HB130), could help Missouri get ahead of the transportation curve. It would streamline the administrative procedure for TNCs and TNC drivers. Rather than deal with a fragmented set of regulations throughout Missouri cities, under HB130 TNCs would need to comply with just a single law. HB130 also prevents local regulatory bodies from imposing anti-competitive and otherwise burdensome regulations on TNCs.
Missouri residents deserve affordable, convenient transportation options. They also deserve greater employment opportunities. HB130 can help achieve these goals by reducing barriers to market entry, streamlining regulations, and lowering the cost of doing business. Read the full testimony I submitted regarding TNCs to the Missouri House General Laws Committee here.