December 1, 2020

arrives

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Welcome back to The Station, a newsletter dedicated to all the present and future ways people and packages move from Point A to Point B.

What.A.Week. Shall we dig in?

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Transportation on the ballot

Joe Biden NAIAS Auto Show 2014Joe Biden NAIAS Auto Show 2014
Joe Biden NAIAS Auto Show 2014

Image Credits: Getty Images

Election Day turned into Election Week as the presidential race tightened and the world waited to see if President Trump would remain in office or if Joe Biden would become the 46th leader of the country.

On Saturday morning, AP, Fox News and every other major news outlets called the race, naming Joe Biden president-elect. The ballot counts will still continue and eventually lead to each state’s Electoral College electors formally casting their votes for president and vice president on December 14, as dictated by our election process.

Assuming Biden is sworn in as the next president of the United States, transportation will likely not be his first area of focus. However, it will be interesting to see how his personal experience of losing his first wife and daughter in a car crash, views on climate change and love for Corvettes as well as Amtrak might shape federal transportation policy. The country has deep infrastructure needs, a rail service in crisis and an emerging tech sector focused on commercializing automated vehicle technology.

Election Day was, of course, about more than Trump and Biden. Ballots throughout the U.S. contained dozens of transportation-related measures, including public transit funding, a car owner’s right to repair and whether gig economy workers should be classified as employees or independent contractors. 

Prop 22, the California ballot measure, might have been the most visible campaign thanks to the tens of millions of dollars that Uber, Lyft and other gig worker-reliant companies contributed to help garner support and get it passed. Voters approved Prop 22, which means that gig workers will continue to be classified as independent workers. Companies that use gig workers will be required to provide an earnings guarantee of at least 120% of minimum wage, 30 cents per engaged miles for expenses, a healthcare stipend, occupational accident insurance for on-the-job injuries, protection against discrimination and sexual harassment and automobile accident and liability insurance.

Fresh off of its success on Election Day, Uber signaled that it will continue to push laws similar to Prop 22. The ride-hailing company’s ambitions for laws that preserve its business model are global. Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said Thursday during an earnings call with analysts that the company will “more loudly advocate for laws like Prop 22.” He later added that it will be a priority of the company “to work with governments across the U.S. and

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