Restricting the bill to Hillsborough County isn't a solution, Book said.

"There are lots of transportation companies in this state, big ones and small ones and middle-sized ones. There are lots of local governments that don't want their local regulations preempted by an out-of-state, carpetbagging company to come here and superimpose California on Florida. I don't think that's a good idea," he said.

Public Transportation Commission Chairman Victor Crist, a former state legislator who also serves on the Hillsborough County Commission, acknowledged that the transportation board has a troubled past but insists that it is turning itself around.

Taxicabs and limousines are regulated differently, Crist pointed out. Limos are considered a luxury service and have looser rules about where and when they can operate. Taxis are required to offer 24/7 services throughout the county at set, posted rates.

Uber wants to have it both ways, Crist said, by offering on-demand services like taxis using negotiable rates like limos. Crist said that could hurt consumers and pointed to recent reports accusing Uber of "price-surging," or hiking rates up to nine times when demand is high.

And Crist blasted Brandes and Grant for "disrespecting" the local delegation and their constituents.

"It's a heck of a thing that you couldn't get your local legislators to sign off on this and now you're trying to back-door it through the process using friends in Tallahassee," Crist told The News Service of Florida in a telephone interview.


But Brandes said he wants to do away with "arcane regulatory burdens … meant to protect (the) taxi market from competition."

More and more business travelers expect to be able to use Uber --- operating only in Jacksonville right now --- or similar apps when they arrive at airports in Florida, Brandes said.

"This is the future of transportation," he said. "Whether it happens this year or in a subsequent year, I think ultimately, for a tourist economy like Florida to not offer these services, for a business economy like Tampa, Orlando and Miami are, to not offer these services makes us look like a political backwater."