Uber, Utility Sale Tossed By Anchorage Assembly

Two controversial business proposals for Anchorage were settled during last night’s Assembly meeting. Services connected to both taxi cabs and garbage trucks will stay the same. At least for now.

Ride-share companies like Uber will stay banned in Anchorage indefinitely. Assembly members said the outstanding legal liability make it untenable for the Municipality move forward letting new companies operate at this point.

“We are basically subject to a very hidebound, heavily regulated, and somewhat nonsensical–I think–form of regulation for our taxi industry,” said Assembly Member Bill Evans, who sponsored an ordinance to regulate “transportation network companies,” or TNC’s, months ago.

The Assembly decided to hold off acting on TNC’s until a more comprehensive revision to Title 11, the city code dealing with the taxi industry, can be worked out.

Separately, the Assembly halted actions led by the mayor’s administration to consider privatizing trash-collection services handled by Solid Waste Services. After public testimony that was overwhelmingly opposed to the sale, Assembly discussion centered around how to best ensure the body retains authority over decisions on the utility’s future.

“I am trying to preserve the public process,” said Assembly Member Amy Demboski. “Frankly, I’m not willing to roll the dice on this one.”

The measured that passed specifies the mayor cannot take unilateral action on any potential sale.

Assembly members are generally against the prospect of privatizing SWS, in part because a report by a private consultant painted a lackluster portrait of financial outcomes.