Boise City Councilman T.J. Thomson, one of Uber’s most vocal supporters in the city government, was featured in an Uber blog post Tuesday that celebrated the return of the ride-hailing service.
Gov. Butch Otter cleared Uber’s path to resume operations in Boise and, in fact, the rest of Idaho on Monday when he allowed a bill that governs companies that fit Uber’s description to become law without signing it. The law, written by Uber, offers less strict regulations on so-called “transportation network companies” than the city of Boise wanted to impose. It also prohibits cities from making their own laws to regulate this type of business.
Those details presented a dilemma for the governor. On one hand, he believes Uber is “operating in the best traditions of the free market – identifying a niche, developing a response to consumer demand, and making that service work at a profit within the confines of an often confusing patchwork of local regulatory limitations,” Otter said Monday in a letter to Scott Bedke, speaker of the Idaho House of Representatives.
On the other hand, Otter said he had reservations about taking authority away from local governments and potentially picking a winner in the broader transportation-for-hire competition.
“I am wary of the state unwittingly creating a competitive advantage for Uber over small local taxi services or other competitors,” Otter wrote in his letter.