Incentives: Expected to approve $357,000 in incentives to “Project Emblem,” now revealed as Cancer Treatment Centers of America, for its corporate headquarters in Boca Raton; and offer $89,000, as part of a state match, to “Project Cranium,” an as-yet undisclosed company wanting to more its regional headquarters to the county.
Vehicles for Hire:Set to take the second of two votes onnew “reciprocity” rulesfor taxis, limos, and app-based rides such as Uber and Lyft, for five southeast Florida counties.
Taxi and limo firms have said the rules give the app-based ride services an unfair advantage and don’t go far enough to protect the public.
Rosenberg wrote Wednesday that the firms may continue to pursue damages for the year and a half that the county had a temporary operating agreement with San Francisco-based Uber parent Rasier LLC. The judge also suggested to county lawyers that they convert their motion to dismiss the remaining claims, instead filing a motion for summary judgment.
The Palm Beach County Commission once again will tackle the issue of how the app-based ride service and similar ones are regulated, and whether they are getting an unfair advantage over traditional taxis and limos.
The biggest aspect of the Uber package commissioners will consider: both Uber-style outfits and taxis would be responsible to either conduct their own background checks or hire the county to do the more comprehensive and costly fingerprint-based “Level II” checks for them. That, and what insurance would be required of drivers in both endeavors, have been sticking points in the debate for going on two years.
The commission might also talk some more about last week’s charge by the county’s inspector general that officials of the Palm Tran Connection cooked their books to improve the on-time record for the bus service for the disabled, elderly and ill.
County Attorney Denise Marie Nieman told county commissioners and staff Thursday in an email that she’d received the new, amended complaint in the class-action suit, which claimed Palm Beach County gives special treatment to the Uber app-based ride program.
“I will keep you posted as this matter progresses,” Nieman wrote.
In their lawsuit, originally filed in May 2015, the plaintiffs — Boyce Transportation, which operates A1A Airport and Limousine Service; Prestige Limousine; North County Transportation; Apollo Transportation Services; and Metro Premier Car Service — demanded monetary damages, a declaration that Uber is a vehicle-for-hire firm, and an order barring the county from “selectively enforcing the laws of the state and county applicable to plaintiffs’ business for the benefit of any (vehicle for hire) company willing to pay PBC to do so.”
But U.S. District Judge Robin L. Rosenberg wrote in a ruling from Fort Pierce that the firms’ “broad allegation” that they were the same animal as Uber and similar firms “is not supported by sufficient factual allegations.”