The proliferation of Uber, Airbnb and now electric scooters has prompted city councils and mayors’ offices around the country to impose rules on how the companies can operate. But as the restrictions mount, city officials are running up against a conundrum: Tech’s urban disruptors are diminishing cities’ authority in some places by seeking approval from states.
Airbnb recently has pushed for more permissive measures in states like Florida and Tennessee after cities there took steps to limit parts of its business. Airbnb-friendly bills in Louisiana and Texas, home to cities important to Airbnb’s business like New Orleans and Austin, could be brought up next year, lobbyists said. Bird, one of the leading scooter startups, sponsored bills in state legislatures earlier this year that rankled some cities, although they were eventually revised to keep key regulatory powers local. And Uber and Lyft have gotten dozens of bills passed in statehouses that often make it more difficult for cities to craft their own rules.