After a year of often intense debate, the Kenner City Council voted 6-1 Thursday night to indefinitely table a measure that would have regulated for-hire vehicle companies, including ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft, operating in Kenner.
The Kenner City Council's oft-postponed effort to regulate ride-hailing services like Uber a…
The indefinite deferral ended for now what has been a lengthy saga of Kenner's attempt to recoup funds city officials say they need to repair streets damaged by thousands of for-hire vehicles traveling to and from Louis Armstrong International Airport.
The immediate cause of the deferral came from Baton Rouge: A proposed bill, House Bill 527, sponsored by Rep. Kenny Havard, R-St. Francisville, would give the state the sole right to regulate companies like Uber and Lyft. As such, it would effectively render any ordinance in Kenner moot.
A second bill, by Rep. Joe Stagni, R-Kenner, would impose a 25-cent fee on each pickup by a ride-hailing company.
Several council members said Thursday that they opposed Havard's bill but that passing an ordinance which might be invalidated in a couple of months didn't make sense.
In a bid to persuade his colleagues to hold off on doubling the fees that some transportatio…
"There is an overriding issue, the state legislation," said Councilman Michael Sigur, who moved to defer the proposed ordinance. "It puts us in a quandary: Do we keep working (on the measure) and keep deferring, or do we put on an indefinite deferral and see what comes out of the legislative session?"
Before the council voted on the deferral, however, there was a lengthy debate on a proposed amendment to the ordinance. The amendment would have removed proposed per-rider fees for shuttles and limousines and imposed a yearly per-vehicle licensing fee instead.
Councilwoman Maria DeFrancesch said she favored the deferral but wanted the amendment voted on as a way to send a message to legislators in Baton Rouge that any bills they pass need to address Kenner's concerns.
Sigur said the amendment "seems a wasted effort."
He and others noted that Havard's bill may look very different when — and if — it makes it to the governor's desk. And the city's proposed new rules could be revived at that time, he said.
DeFrancesch's amendment garnered just two votes: hers and that of Keith Reynaud.
Reynaud was the lone dissenter on the deferral, saying he didn't think it should be indefinite.
The council originally proposed establishing licensing fees and doubling the pickup fee for vehicles picking up fares from the airport. Those provisions, which would have included a $4 per pickup fee for Uber and Lyft, $6 for shuttle companies and $10 for limousines, drew heated opposition from those industries, as well as the City of New Orleans, which owns the airport. The companies already pay those same amounts to the airport.
But council members contended that it is Kenner that must maintain the streets that the various services use to get to and from the airport, and that more funds are needed for road repairs.
Kenner City Council members said Thursday they're open to rewriting a controversial proposal…