PRLA Petitions Against Philadelphia Parking
Members of The Philadelphia Regional Limousine Association (PRLA)
filed a petition for review in court against the the “Parking Authority Law,” by which the Philadelphia Parking Authority (PPA) sets its annual budget
and fee schedule.
The PRLA petition charged that a section of the law is unconstitutional, because it did not impose any limitations on the Parking Authority’s exercise of discretion in these activities. The petition also charged that the law deprives them of the opportunity for a hearing on the amount of fees they must pay to the PPA in order to stay in business, claiming that these fees are excessive and confiscatory. The PPA moved to dismiss the petition for review on these claims, but the PRLA moved for summary relief, which they were granted in court.
Prior to 2004, the Public Utility Commission was solely responsible for the regulation of taxicab and limousine operations throughout Pennsylvania. In 2004, the General Assembly transferred part of this regulatory responsibility to the PPA, including the regulation of taxicab and limousine service in Philadelphia.
The Parking Authority Law establishes the “Philadelphia Taxicab and Limousine Regulatory Fund,” which derives its revenue from the fees paid by the various taxicab and limousine companies regulated by the PPA. The annual fee schedule changes from year to year and is published by the PPA on its website and in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.
On March 9, 2012, the PPA’s Board approved an annual budget and fee schedule for fiscal year 2013 and submitted them to the appropriations committees. Because neither committee took action to disapprove the proposed budget and fee schedule, they became effective on April 15, 2012.
The PPA then invoiced PRLA members for 2013 fees. When the members did not pay the invoiced fees by June 15, 2012, the PPA issued citations to them, and they were then subject to sanctions by the PPA including “impoundment of their vehicles, imposition of fines, penalties, and late fees and suspension, revocation, or cancellation of their certificates of public convenience.”
The PRLA responded by filing the instant petition for review. The limousine companies contend that the PPA’s fee schedule is arbitrary, unfair and confiscatory, because it imposes fees that are excessive when measured against their revenue or net profit.
On Feb. 14, the preliminary objections filed by the PPA were overruled and the motion for summary relief filed by the PRLA was granted in part. The section of the Parking Authority Law in question was declared unconstitutional and unenforceable, and the PPA was prohibited from taking any action with regard to the PRLA members under authority of that section.
For more information and updates on this topic, visit www.prlamembers.com. LD03/13