ALBANY - Gov. Andrew Cuomo will unveil a proposal Monday to clear the way for ride-hailing apps like Uber and Lyft to expand statewide, according to the governor's office.
Cuomo's plan calls on the state to oversee and permit the popular ride-hailing companies, which currently operate in New York City under its taxi laws but have sought changes in state insurance law to expand to the rest of the state.
The governor is expected to highlight his proposal during his regional State of the State address Monday in Buffalo, his office told the USA TODAY Network's Albany Bureau. It's the second of six regional speeches he has scheduled through Wednesday.
In a statement Saturday, Cuomo said expanding ride-hailing services upstate is "a top priority for me."
"It defies logic that ride-sharing isn't available to New Yorkers who live outside of New York City," Cuomo said. "My message is upstate New York matters and it's not right or fair that upstate doesn't have this new innovation that spurs the economy, can save money and save lives."
Companies like Uber and Lyft allow users to hail a ride using a smartphone application, with the driver generally using his or her personal vehicle to complete the trip.
Uber has been engaged in a widespread lobbying effort across the state as it seeks to expand, rounding up support from local officials and business leaders in hopes of convincing Cuomo and the Legislature to act.
Like previous proposals from state lawmakers, Cuomo's plan would require the state to regulate and permit ride-hailing companies rather than local governments, which oversee taxicabs.
The state would have the ability to audit the companies to make sure they're complying with any applicable laws and regulations, according to Cuomo's office.
Uber, Lyft and similar companies, meanwhile, would be required to take part in The Black Car Fund, a worker's compensation fund that tacks a 2.5 percent surcharge on fares to cover drivers if they're injured on the job.
Further details of Cuomo's proposal weren't released Saturday night.
It was unclear, for example, how much insurance coverage ride-hailing companies would be required to carry for drivers -- which became a sticking point between the state Senate and Assembly last year, ultimately leading to the bill's demise.
In order to expand outside New York City, Uber and Lyft have been seeking a change in state law to allow "pooled" insurance coverage, which would allow them to take out a broad policy covering drivers' personal vehicles only when they are working for the company.
A coalition of upstate taxi companies and insurers, meanwhile, have been pushing for a measure that would require Uber and Lyft to put potential drivers through fingerprint background checks before hiring them, which the companies have pushed back against.
“Uber and Lyft already fingerprint drivers in New York City and there is no reason why upstate riders should not have the same protection," John Tomassi, president of the Upstate Transportation Association, said in a statement last week. "State lawmakers must require fingerprinting in any upstate ride-sharing expansion because anything less will put riders’ lives at risk.”