Rosemont sues Uber and Lyft for airport fees
Rosemont is suing ridesharing services Uber and Lyft, arguing they should pay the same fees the village receives from taxi services for pickups at O'Hare International Airport and Midway International Airport.
The village is joining the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, the agency that runs McCormick Place and Navy Pier known as McPier, and Choose Chicago, the city's convention and tourism bureau, in the lawsuit filed in Cook County circuit court.
The three entities combined receive $20 million annually from a $4-per-ride airport departure tax levied on taxis picking up passengers at the airports.
Rosemont alone gets about $2.5 million a year, used for maintenance and renovation work at the village's 890,000-square-foot Donald E. Stephens Convention Center.
Chicago's city council authorized Uber and Lyft to begin picking up passengers at the airports last November, while charging city taxes of $5 for every pickup and $5 for every drop-off.
McPier told both ridesharing groups they also had to pay the airport departure tax, imposed on those "engaged in the business of providing ground transportation for hire" from O'Hare and Midway, according to the suit.
Both Uber and Lyft argue they don't have to.
"This lawsuit has no merit and sadly is an attempt to sock Chicago consumers with yet another tax," an Uber spokeswoman said in a written statement. "As (McPier) well knows, they don't have the authority to levy this new tax, as rideshare is not defined as livery according to state law."
Added a Lyft spokeswoman, in a written statement: "Ridesharing customers in Chicago already pay the highest fees in the country to share a ride to and from the airport due to government restrictions. ... Artificially increasing the price of ridesharing directly harms Chicago residents, visitors, and businesses who benefit from safe, affordable options like Lyft to get around the city."
The village, McPier and Choose Chicago are seeking tax, interest and penalties going back to November.