Arizona AG Brnovich files lawsuit challenging new rideshare fee structure at Sky Harbor

Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport

Arizona's Attorney General has filed a lawsuit against the City of Phoenix over a recently approved rideshare fee structure at Sky Harbor.

The new fee structure was approved in December 2019, and is set to take effect on February 1. Under the new fee structure, rideshare operators will pay a $2.80 pick-up and drop-off fee for non-zero emission vehicles at the PHX Sky Train Station. Zero-emission vehicles will pay a $2.40 pick-up and drop-off fee instead for pick-ups and drop-offs at the Sky Train Station.

For pick-ups and drop-offs at the terminal curb, a $4 fee will be imposed, which will increase to $4.25 in 2021, $4.50 in 2022, $4.75 in 2023, and to $5 in 2024. Starting in 2025, the rate will increase by either the inflation rate of 3%, whichever is greater.

Currently, there is a fee of $2.66 that is only applied towards pick-ups.

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich

State Attorney General Mark Brnovich has asserted that the new city ordinance "very likely" violates a provision in the state constitution that was approved by voters in 2018 as Proposition 126. According to documents released that year, Proposition 126 bans the state and any government entities within Arizona from imposing or increasing any tax, fee, stamp requirement or other assessment on services performed in the state.

The proposition does not, however, repeal any such taxes and fees that were already in effect before 2018.

According to legal documents posted by Brnovich, he is asking the state's Supreme Court to declare the new city ordinance null and void, arguing that since the new fee structure introduces a drop-off fee that will have mandated increase in future years, and increases the pick-up fee that was already being collected, it violates the language in the state's constitution.

"Here, the Ordinance falls within the plain language of the Constitution’s prohibition," the legal document read.

In addition, Brnovich argues that Proposition 126 also amends a portion of the state's constitution, and denies any city charters the power to violate Proposition 126.

Brnovich is also asking a court to prevent the new fee structure from taking effect on February 1.