Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Bruce Rauner Pledges Support for Uber

Republican gubernatorial candidate says stifling ride-share companies sends message that "Illinois is closed to innovation"

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Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner has picked a side in the ride-share debate.

Rauner issued a statement Tuesday pledging support for Uber, calling it an "innovative, growing company that provides ride-share services to millions of people across the country and wants to create 425 more jobs right here in Illinois."

Rauner says he would veto a recently-passed bill that regulates ride-share businesses such as Uber and Lyft.

"I love Uber. And we need a state that supports job creation -- not runs it off," Rauner said in the statement.

Rauner urges Gov. Pat Quinn not to sign the bill saying "it sends another signal that Illinois is closed to innovation."

Mara Georges, the spokeswoman for the Illinois Transportation Trade Association, issued her own statement defending the bill, saying it is "simply focused on making sure all Illinoisans have basic consumer protections when they step into a car for hire."

"Customers have the right to know their driver has passed a comprehensive police background check and drug test and carries sufficient insurance in case of an accident," George said.

"Ride-share companies claim they can regulate themselves, but time and time again they have proven that they cannot protect their drivers or passengers. It is unfortunate that Bruce Rauner would side with Silicon Valley multi-billionaires and venture capitalists, rather than Illinois consumers," George added.

The legislation, sponsored by Democratic state Sen. Tony Munoz of Chicago, would create two tiers of regulation.

All drivers would need to pass background checks and have commercial liability insurance of at least $350,000. Drivers working more than 36 hours in a two-week period would need to follow stricter rules, similar to taxis. Local municipalities could set rules for "surge pricing" — which allows drivers to hike prices during high demand — for rides dispatched through a smartphone app.

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