Port Authority of N.Y.-N.J. Could Block $10M Newark-Uber Deal

By | April 26, 2016

A tentative deal between Newark, New Jersey, and ride-hailing company Uber has hit a roadblock.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates Newark Liberty International Airport, is raising concerns about the city’s proposal to receive $1 million per year over the next 10 years from Uber in exchange for the right to operate at the airport.

Most of the airport is within the Newark city limits in New Jersey, and the Port Authority leases the land from the city.

State laws in New Jersey and New York give the Port Authority sole discretion in “all details of financing, construction, leasing, charges, rates, tolls, contracts and the operation of air terminals,” according to language in the New Jersey statute. The Port Authority operates JFK and LaGuardia airports in New York in addition to Newark Liberty.

Last week, Newark Mayor Ras Baraka announced the tentative deal with Uber that included the fee for operating at the airport.

In a statement to The Associated Press, the Port Authority said it has expressed its concerns to city officials and that it plans to “discuss the matter with Newark officials in hopes of finding a resolution.”

A spokeswoman for Baraka said officials hadn’t heard about the Port Authority’s concerns.

The Uber proposal was supposed to be considered at a Newark city council meeting last week but wasn’t voted on. Taxi drivers protested outside the meeting, saying ride-hailing has significantly cut their profits and that the proposed Uber deal is unfair.

Newark and Uber had been in a public spat recently over taxes, licensing and background checks. In February, city officials said Uber drivers would be ticketed or towed if they operated at the train station or airport, but the plan was later shelved. At the time, the Port Authority issued a statement saying it wouldn’t prevent Uber drivers from operating at the airport.

Newark Liberty Airport handles more than 30 million passengers annually and is among the 20 busiest U.S. airports.

A spokesman for San Francisco-based Uber declined to provide statistics on how many pickups and drop-offs the company makes at the airport. Craig Ewer said Uber is continuing to operate at the airport and has about 13,000 eligible drivers in New Jersey, a number he said includes about 2,000 Newark residents.

“We’re confident that the Mayor and all interested parties understand what is at stake for the 2,000 Newark residents who rely on Uber to earn extra income,” the company said in an emailed statement on April 22.

Topics New York Aviation New Jersey Sharing Economy Ridesharing Uber

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