A Republican congressional candidate from California proposed a national plan to protect car-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft on Thursday.
Carl DeMaio, who is looking to unseat Rep. Scott Peters (D-Calif.) this November, said that his plan would prevent state or local governments from blocking upstart transportation services in efforts to protect established taxi companies.
"This is an issue of personal freedom — specifically the right of consumers to choose their ride rather than [have] special interests and politicians choose it for them," DeMaio said in a statement.
"Instead of siding with the cab companies' monopolies, government should be encouraging, rather than prohibiting these solutions to our local transportation challenges."
His plan would block states or local government that accept federal transportation money from instituting special rules preventing new companies from competing with traditional taxis. It would also force airports that get federal funds to allow ride-sharing companies to pick up or drop off passengers.
Additionally, DeMaio’s proposal would call for the Transportation Department to complete a report comparing safety statistics of traditional cab companies and new ride-sharing programs.
DeMaio’s announcement is the latest sign of Republicans’ support for companies like Uber, which allow people to order a ride from their smartphone, that have run into obstruction from local regulators and taxi unions.
The Republican National Committee has painted Uber as a model company with a new, innovative idea that has been stymied by regulators looking to protect entrenched labor interests.
The GOP’s support of Uber has also been interpreted as an attempt to attract younger voters who have gravitated toward the company.
DeMaio, an openly gay former city councilman, is running in a tight race against Peters to represent the Southern California district that includes parts of San Diego.