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Chicago Parking Meters: The Dollar is the New Quarter

By Hunter Clauss in News on Dec 2, 2008 8:25PM

parking%20meter.jpgChicago motorists will now have to fork over more money at parking meters thanks to a plan that privatizes the city’s 35,000 meters. Mayor Daley unveiled a $1.15-billion bid today that would lease the city’s meters to Chicago Parking Meters LLC, which is made up of Morgan Stanley infrastructure funds. If the 75-year deal is approved by the City Council on Thursday, parking meter fees will jump to at least $1 per hour. That means the days of spending only a quarter for an hour are over. Parking spots that already charge $1 per hour are now bumped to $2 and meters costing $3 per hour will now be $3.50. But aldermen must approve any further rate increases after the first five years. The deal also includes more pay-and-display boxes and pay-by-phone options, which eliminates old-fashioned “pay-by-cash” meters. So the days of driving up to a meter and finding it’s already paid could be over as well.

The city plans on dividing the money from the bid into four funds, which includes a $400-million long-term reserve fund, $325 million to fill city budget gaps through 2012 and $100 million that will go to programs aimed at low-income people. City officials also plan to create a $324-million fund that “may be used to help bridge the period until the nation’s economy grows again.”

The city’s parking meters could join the Chicago Skyway, downtown parking garages and Midway Airport as city assets that have succumb to Mayor Daley’s privatization fever.

Image via wendtwork.