I wrote several weeks back about Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s budget proposal and her ideas to help reduce traffic conditions downtown. Her idea to increase taxes on ride-shares in the downtown loop area passed this week by the Chicago city counsel when they approved the 2020 budget.
Lightfoot’s office foresee’s this tax revenue will raise $40 million for the city, which will then be used to improve the busing lanes that lead in and out of downtown. The entire purpose, according to Lightfoot’s office, is an attempt to decrease congestion in the downtown loop during peak rush hours. The increased downtown fees would apply between 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., when traffic is worst. The rest of the time, trips downtown would have the same fees as the rest of the city.
The combined city taxes on a solo Uber, Lyft, of Via trip that starts or ends downtown will rise from 72 cents to $3. The taxes on a shared ride downtown would rise from 72 cents per trip to $1.25 per trip.
For the purposes of the congestion tax, the boundaries of downtown would be North Avenue from Lake Shore Drive to the north branch of the Chicago River, the north branch of the Chicago River from North Avenue to Grand Avenue, Grand Avenue from the north branch of the river to Ashland Avenue, Ashland from Grand to Van Buren Street, Van Buren from Ashland to Desplaines Street, Desplaines from Van Buren to Roosevelt Road, and Roosevelt from Desplaines to Lake Shore Drive.
Both Uber and Lyft have criticized this tax as they have stated it hurts low income passengers who need the app to travel downtown. This did not deter Lightfoot or the city council as the budget passed 37 to 11.
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