Cab Business Splurges Again On Taxi Proposal

Mirroring a legislative battle last year, a Colorado cab company is again spending large amounts of money to fight a state proposal that could give the business more competition.In April Colorado Confidential reported that the Colorado Cab Co., doing business as Yellow Cab in Denver, had spent $19,500 in March to pay lobbyists and influence a taxi regulation bill that sought to deregulate the industry.

Now records from the Secretary of State’s Office show that the same company gave $24,000 to veteran lobbyist William Imig in January to help oppose and amend a new proposal that again seeks to make it easier for new cab companies to start in Denver.

Last year’s bill would have required the state’s Public Utilities Commission to issue an unlimited number of permits to cab companies who follow certain regulations, making it easier for new businesses to enter the market. Under the current system three companies dominate the industry and regulatory caps limit the number of taxis a company can operate.

The bill was later gutted by the House Transportation and Energy Committee and changed to control the weekly rates cab companies charge their drivers instead of dealing with permits.

The most recent proposal, which was passed by the House transportation panel by a vote of 8-4 yesterday, would make it easier for new taxi businesses to start up, striking a requirement that potential companies prove there is a public need for their service before they are permitted to operate.

Erin Rosa was born in Spain and raised in Colorado Springs. She is a freelance writer currently living in Denver. Rosa's work has been featured in a variety of news outlets including the Huffington Post, Democracy Now!, and the Rocky Mountain Chronicle, an alternative-weekly in Northern Colorado where she worked as a columnist covering the state legislature. Rosa has received awards from the Society of Professional Journalists for her reporting on lobbying and woman's health issues. She was also tapped with a rare honorable mention award by the Newspaper Guild-CWA's David S. Barr Award in 2008--only the second such honor conferred in its nine-year history--for her investigative series covering the federal government's Supermax prison in the state. Rosa covers the labor community, corrections, immigration and government transparency matters. She can be reached at erosa@www.coloradoindependent.com.

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