Following in their tradition of keeping options for their citizens’ mobility strictly limited to those that benefit themselves and their friends, San Antonio City Council voted 7-2 on Dec. 11 in favor of adopting obstructive new regulations for ride sharing companies such as Uber and Lyft.  Officials on the Alamo Area MPO had duplicitously cited mobility concerns earlier that very week as justification for violating the premise of Proposition 1 to use on toll roads.

Opponents of the new rules have argued they are prohibitive, onerous, and serve as de-facto protectionism over the city’s established cab operation.  Uber general manager Leandre Johns asserted the new regulations “would force transportation networking companies (TNCs) to abandon service in San Antonio.”

As Breitbart Texas reported, San Antonio was already one of the worst cities in the state in terms of artificial restrictions placed on transportation services, receiving a grade of a D- in a study conducted by the R Street Institute, a non-partisan free-market public policy research organization.  The new rules will tilt the playing field even further in favor of the city’s de facto oligopoly on cab services.

The new regulations require a $1 million insurance policy from drivers (far in excess of what the city-owned cabs are required), in addition to other bureaucratic roadblocks.  R Street’s Texas Director noted, “The regulation throws up so many anti-ride-sharing roadblocks…that it will effectively prohibit ride-sharing companies from operating in San Antonio.”

It seems San Antonio officials have little desire to do much about very real transportation issues other than cite them as justification for pet projects of dubious merit.   Contrary to logic and reason, mobility has been repeatedly used to justify the ‘need’ for the overwhelmingly unpopular streetcar system.  Similarly, the Alamo Area MPO voted last Monday to use Proposition 1 funds to add toll lanes to 281 and I-10, and expand currently existing toll projects for the purpose of alleviating traffic congestion.  Remember, voters approved Proposition 1 this November on the premise that the funds would not be used for toll roads.

Just a few days later, officials have kept with their history of keeping solutions to very real problems limited to those that benefit their cabal.   Given the current status quo of cozy relationships with contractors and low voter turnout, there is little impetus for officials to do anything about the very real problem of citizen mobility other than use it as a convenient excuse for expensive boondoggles such as toll roads and streetcars.  San Antonio residents would do well to remember who is talking out of both sides of their mouth come May.

Greg Harrison

Gregory led the Central Texas Bureau for Empower Texans and Texas Scorecard. He attended the University of Texas at Austin, where he got involved politically through the Young Conservatives of Texas. He enjoys fishing, grilling, motorcycling, and of course, all things related to firearms.

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