City Spends Half a Million to Explore Meter Privatization

4_29_09_meter.jpgPhoto: Nahh/Flickr

Thank goodness for KNBC or maybe the City Council’s decision to spend half a million dollars to study parking privatization may have passed without any news outlet covering the story.  Did I miss something, is parking and parking rates not a major issue in Los Angeles anymore?

Regardless, the Los Angeles City Council voted yesterday to further explore selling the rights to collect revenue from the city’s parking meters for an undisclosed amount of time for an undisclosed amount of money.  The city hopes to use the proceeds to fill an $80 million hole in next year’s budget.  The rest of the proceeds would go into reserve accounts.

The lone dissenting Councilman was the Valley’s Greg Smith, who questioned whether or not the timing was right to sell the rights to the city’s meters given the national fiscal crisis and what the city was going to do with out the $45-$50 million the city nets every year from 41,000 parking meters and parking lots at Hollywood & Highland complex, Pershing Square, the Cinerama Dome and lots on Robertson Boulevard and Broxton and Cherokee avenues.

Councilman Greig Smith
cast the lone dissenting vote. He argued that the city was being
shortsighted in selling its assets for an influx of cash when the
parking lots and meters provide a constant revenue stream.

"We’re
selling property at the bottom of the market. What a stupid idea,"
Smith said. "If we were stockbrokers, we’d be in jail with Bernie
Madoff for this kind of scheme. This is foolhardy economics."

To read more about the effort to privatize parking in Los Angeles read our mini-series from a couple of weeks ago and for some balance, the series by the Reason Foundation in response.

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