December 11, 2008
Privatized parking

So, you think Houston has expensive parking meters downtown? It could be worse.

If you plan to park at a meter anywhere in Chicago, get ready to carry plenty of change: rates will likely quadruple next month for most spots in the city.

At most meters, where a single quarter now buys 60 minutes, the charge will spike to $1 per hour. And by 2013, it will cost $2 an hour to park at those same spaces.

The most expensive spots downtown will increase from $3 an hour to $6.50 the next five years under a lease deal Mayor Richard Daley announced Tuesday.

Despite the rate hikes, Daley hailed the parking meter plan as an innovative approach to surviving the city's deepening budget woes. A private company has agreed to give City Hall an upfront payment of almost $1.2 billion to run Chicago's parking meter system for the next 75 years.

Privatization, baby! Whatever else you may think of this, I'll bet it encourages more people to take mass transit. Subsidies come in many different forms, don't they? Add yes, there are good public policy reasons to charge market-based parking rates, as Yglesias notes. Link via Kevin Drum.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on December 11, 2008 to Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
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