The chances of ride sharing services like Uber and Lyft being allowed to operate in the Hudson Valley continues in increase.

47 states across the country currently have access to ride-hailing services. Uber is available in the New York City area, but not elsewhere in the state. If some local officials have their way, Uber will arrive in the Hudson Valley in the near future.

"Uber provides not only a transportation alternative, but it's also a business," Dutchess County Executive Mark Molinaro told Hudson Valley Post. "Both of those things have a great benefit to the area and the local economy."

Molinaro, Kingston Mayor Steve Noble and a host of other elected officials recently signed a letter in favor of Uber.

According to WHEC, the letter read:

47 states around the country have access to ridesharing services like Uber. Yet, after years of debate, New Yorkers are still left out. The time for debate is over and now is the time to act.

Upstate cities are undergoing a revitalization but that can’t continue unless we have the most basic services that nearly every other city in the U.S. enjoys. When visitors arrive in Albany, Buffalo, Syracuse, Rochester, Utica and other cities, they are simply stunned when they open up their Uber app and see that they can’t get a ride here.

Simply put, we must join the 21st century if we expect to attract and retain businesses and grow our economies.

Our constituents are demanding it. From Binghamton to Batavia, the chorus is being heard loud and clear. In fact, 80% of New Yorkers want a statewide regulatory framework in place to allow Uber to operate in their communities.

The benefits are clear.

In cities where it operates, Uber has been proven to help reduce drunk driving incidents. For example, DUI arrests in Seattle decreased by more than 10% after Uber started serving riders and drivers in the city, according to a recent study. An independent study conducted by Temple University found cities where Uber operates have 3.6%-5.6% fewer drunk driving deaths than cities without access to ridesharing.

A report by Uber and Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) released last January concludes that when empowered with more transportation options like Uber, people are making responsible choices that result in fewer alcohol-related crashes.

And small business owners across the State are demanding it to help bring customers safely to and from their restaurants, bars and other businesses.

Most importantly, Upstate cities are in desperate need of better transit options and services like Uber is a no-brainer - New Yorkers across the State should be able to get an affordable, reliable ride at the touch of a button.

As local elected officials, we implore you to listen to your constituents and pass ridesharing this year.

On Wednesday, the state lawmakers begin a six-month legislative session. The debate over Uber is likely to be a hot-topic.

In the past, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has come out in support of ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft, reports the Wall Street Journal. An agreement to allow the services across the state was part of a canceled special legislative session in December.

The talks gave hints on how Uber and Lyft would be regulated in the Hudson Valley. A draft bill indicated that each ride would come with a 50 cent tax, with the money going towards local transit systems, the Democrat and Chronicle reports.

Molinaro is against a ride-sharing tax.

"I don't believe we need an Uber tax," he said. "Don't add a tax just because. Too many times in New York State, they don't miss an opportunity to tax something."

Local governments would be able to decide to allow the ride-sharing services, but not regulate it, if approved.

According to Uber, in Jan. 2016, over 60,000 people opened the Uber app outside of New York City looking for a ride. The company believes extending their service across the state would decrease the amount of drunk drivers.

In a statement, Uber wrote that they fully expect New York State to pass a law to allow Uber and Lyft to operate across New York State in 2017.

What do you think? Do you want services like Uber to come to the local area? Let us know in the comments section or on Facebook.

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