San FranciscoTransportation

State law clears path for SF vote on ride-sharing tax


Gov. Jerry Brown last Friday signed Assembly Bill 1184 that would allow San Francisco to place ballot measure on the November 2019 election that could tax Transportation Network Companies to help fund transportation needs.

Under the ballot measure, TNCs like Uber and Lyft would be taxed for each ride originating in San Francisco in amount of 3.25 percent of net rider fares and 1.5 percent for shared rides.

The City estimates the new tax could generate $30 million, which would go towards funding transportation infrastructure and operations.

Supervisor Aaron Peskin, who also chairs the San Francisco County Authority, said The City identified a $22 billion funding gap transportation needs through 2045 through the San Francisco Transportation Task Force 2045, which was convened by former Mayor Ed Lee and co-chaired by Peskin.

While voters approved a $500 million general obligation bond in 2014 to help fund transportation projects, Peskin said:

“… we’re going to have to find other sources of revenue and it is no secret that part of the congestion crisis we are facing in San Francisco … at peak in the downtown area added some 26 percent of congestion.”

Peskin referred to a study done by the SFCTA that brought a glimpse of how companies like Uber and Lyft are affecting traffic in The City.

Ching Wong/SFBay

Assemblyman Phil Ting, left, and Supervisor Aaron Peskin discuss AB 1184 signed by Gov. Jerry Brown at a press conference in San Francisco, Calif., on Monday, September 24, 2018.

Assemblyman Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, the author of the bill, said the relationship between Uber and Lyft has been rocky with city officials:

“For so long and for quite long, we’ve had at times a confrontational relationship with TNC companies, two of which are headquartered here in San Francisco.”

Ting added:

“I think it starts a new relationship with these companies.”

Both Uber and Lyft support the ballot measure, but only after Peskin withdrew a ballot measure for this November that would tax their gross receipts at 0.975 percent.

Peskin said:

“It started out really as a fight.”

Peskin also agreed with Ting that working together on the ballot measure may open up a relationship with the companies.

The work is just beginning as city officials now will have convince voters to approve the ballot measure next year, said Peskin:

“There’s more consensus work to be done. We’re not out of the woods yet.”

Jerold Chinn
Jerold Chinn is the San Francisco Bureau Chief of SFBay. A San Francisco native, he has spent a decade covering transportation in San Francisco. Send tips to or at Twitter @Jerold_Chinn.

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