Anchorage, Alaska Proposal 8 (2008)

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Proposal 8 was a ballot measure in Anchorage, Alaska to de-regulate taxi cab permits. It was on the April 1, 2008 ballot

. If the proposition passes there would be an unlimited number of cabs. The permits would cost $1,425 and limos would be allowed to charge the same as taxis for their services. The initiative was by defeated in a 2-1 vote.[1]

The current system

Currently there are 158 cab permits in Anchorage. These permits are worth over $100,000 each. These permits are then leased out to other drivers temporarily to other drivers.

  • The driver, who pays the permit owner, to use the cab. The driver is also responsible for gas and a wash during the shift. In some cases cabbies must make $120 before making a profit.
  • The permit owner pays for car maintenance, liability insurance, a dispatch service fee a
  • Customers get a cab by calling a dispatcher, hired by a large number of permit owners. Paying the dispatch fee gives permit/car owners the right to pain their car with the dispatch company's name and color.

The new system

  • All the requirements for drivers as far as safety is concerned would be the same. All cabs would still be required to use a dispatch company.
  • Cabbies would own their own permits and cars. Though a cabbie could lease a car from someone else.
  • Cabbies wouldn't have to cover a leasing fee, but would have to pay maintenance and insurance.


Ryan Kennedy, a political science graduate of the University of Alaska Anchorage and former aide to the Assemblyman Paul Bauer. He wrote the initiative with his former economic professer, saying he wanted to support free enterprise.

Supporting arguments

  • Put more cabs in the street
  • Relieve shortages during peak hours
  • Bring more competition, which means better service, and cabs to Girdwood and Eagle River
  • Possibly lower fares


The Anchorage Taxi Permit Owners Association has raised $200,000 to fight the initiative. The group believes the initiative will punish those that have already invested in permits. They have also threatened the city with lawsuits should the initiative pass based on the argument that permits are property and owners are legally entitled to compensation for loss because of the law change.

Opposing arguments

  • Ruin existing businesses
  • Lead drivers to refuse short rides, take tourists the long way and possibly engage in illegal activity

External links