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Photo: Skip

Portland, a city known for investing in public transit and promoting alternatives to cars, has granted permits to scooter-sharing startups Skip and Bird as part of a four-month pilot program.

Why it matters: This could be a great test of whether a huge cash pile proves as much an advantage in the scooter wars as it did for Uber in the ride-hailing race. In this case, Bird is the wealthy competitor.

  • To date, Bird has raised more than $415 million in funding, while Skip has raised just $31 million.

Caveat: After the initial 200 scooters per firm deploy in the Portland pilot's first week, Bird is allowed up to 680 while Skip only gets up to 450, which may skew how the companies perform and how popular they prove. Moreover, Portland may grant permits to two more companies it is reviewing, according to a spokesman for the Bureau of Transportation, and that would change the head-to-head dynamic, too.

What’s next: San Francisco, which ordered all scooters off the streets in June while it reviews permit applications for its own pilot program, recently said it plans to issue its decision in August. Unlike Portland, San Francisco saw a number of scooter companies rush to roll vehicles out on the streets before the city could enact regulations.

Go deeper

Updated 7 hours ago - World

Mexican President López Obrador tests positive for coronavirus

Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador during a press conference at National Palace in Mexico City, Mexico, on Wednesday. Photo: Ismael Rosas/Eyepix Group/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced Sunday evening that he's tested positive for COVID-19.

Driving the news: López Obrador tweeted that he has mild symptoms and is receiving medical treatment. "As always, I am optimistic," he added. "We will all move forward."

7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Sarah Huckabee Sanders to run for governor of Arkansas

Sarah Huckabee Sanders at FOX News' studios in New York City in 2019. Photo: Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

Former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders will announce Monday that she's running for governor of Arkansas.

The big picture: Sanders was touted as a contender after it was announced she was leaving the Trump administration in June 2019. Then-President Trump tweeted he hoped she would run for governor, adding "she would be fantastic." Sanders is "seen as leader in the polls" in the Republican state, notes the Washington Post's Josh Dawsey, who first reported the news.

Coronavirus has inflamed global inequality

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

History will likely remember the pandemic as the "first time since records began that inequality rose in virtually every country on earth at the same time." That's the verdict from Oxfam's inequality report covering the year 2020 — a terrible year that hit the poorest, hardest across the planet.

Why it matters: The world's poorest were already in a race against time, facing down an existential risk in the form of global climate change. The coronavirus pandemic could set global poverty reduction back as much as a full decade, according to the World Bank.