Ithaca Carshare begins selling off fleet, lawmakers still hope to save it
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul has yet to sign legislation needed to save Ithaca Carshare, as the organization nears its breaking point. But negotiations remain ongoing and some are still hopeful a solution can be reached.
Ithaca Carshare is a non-profit organization that connects users with a fleet of vehicles for short-term rentals. It had to shut down operations earlier this year after its insurance provider pulled out of the state.
Now, on the verge of total insolvency, the carshare has begun the process of selling off its vehicles. It's likely the last step before the organization shuts down completely. The organization’s director said it might be able to hold out until the end of the week.
State lawmakers approved legislation earlier this year allowing non-profit organizations to secure auto insurance from risk retention groups based outside the state, which is how carshares in other states are typically insured.
Ithaca Assemblymember Anna Kelles said the governor promised she’d help save the carshare. Kelles told WSKG Wednesday, she’s still confident Hochul will follow through.
"She committed to getting this done and I'm very thankful for that because this carshare in Tompkins County is iconic. It is one of the most central non-profits in our community,” Kelles said.
The state’s concern right now, Kelles said, is the impact the proposed change could have on existing insurance markets. She said the goal of negotiations at this point is to find a middle ground where carshares can still viably find insurance coverage while lessening concerns of market disruption.
“Where we're at now is looking to narrow the bill to minimize the risk to the existing market that provides liability insurance, while creating a robust enough market, so that there are insurance companies willing to take on all the overhead costs of starting a new insurance offering in New York state, which is a significant cost,” Kelles said.
The legislation is sponsored by state Senator Lea Webb in the Senate.