Chicago To Lease Parking Meters To A Company That Will Charge $6.50 An Hour?

The Chicago Sun-Times is reporting that Mayor Richard M. Daley of Chicago is trying to get “quickie” approval for a proposal to privatize the city’s parking meters. Under the 75 year lease, Chicago’s 36,000 parking meters would be controlled by a partnership that includes Morgan Stanley Infrastructure Partners and LAZ Parking. This partnership will, naturally, raise prices. Critics of the proposal say that charging $6.50 an hour by 2013 to park downtown would hurt local businesses.

More troubling is the potential for a conflict of interest:

Ald. William Banks (36th), one of the mayor’s staunchest City Council supporters, warned that charging $6.50-an-hour to park at Loop meters and forcing drivers to feed those meters 24/7 would be a “definite deterrent to people visiting the downtown area,” hurting retailers and restaurants.

Parking enforcement could get tougher if the contractor exercises its right to “supplement” the city’s ticket-writing efforts to “protect its revenue.”

Supplement the city’s ticket writing to “protect its revenue?” Well, that seems like a conflict of interest, doesn’t it? Consumerist expects to receive a lot of email from angry motorists should this deal go through.

Motorists would pay more to park at cashless meter spaces [Sun-Times]
(Photo: mbeldyk )