Seattle approves new 57-cent tax on Uber, Lyft rides

(Information from: The Seattle Times, http://www.seattletimes.com)

SEATTLE (AP) — The Seattle City Council is proceeding with a new tax on Uber and Lyft rides pitched by Mayor Jenny Durkan to help pay for affordable housing, the delayed downtown streetcar and give new support to ride-hailing drivers.

The Seattle Times reports council members unanimously approved the 57-cent tax Monday.

Durkan and the council have also promised to ensure Uber and Lyft drivers make Seattle’s $16 minimum wage starting next summer, but the city first plans to study driver pay.

The new tax stops short of a more widespread tolling scheme some say is necessary to truly address congestion choking downtown streets.

Durkan’s administration has explored the concept of congestion pricing, in which all drivers downtown would pay a toll. Uber and Lyft back that type of widespread charge and decried the new tax, claiming it could stymie ridership and hurt drivers.

Durkan’s office projects the new tax will raise about $25 million a year.