On Pittsburgh and Parking
Bram has a fantastic post over on the comet on the apparent thoroughness with which Luke is approaching leasing the parking garages. It’s good to see, its a decision that Pittsburgh will be living with for the rest of its life. I’m not going to spend a bunch of time going through the details (mostly because I don’t know them), Bram’s your guy for that. Conceptually though, leasing the parking garages has 3 primary benefits:
- It ties city revenues to a business model instead of a taxation model. If parking rates are going to be raised (and the next two points have to do with that), then it should be a corporation that does it. Corporations have experience in identifying and valuing a market, governments do not. A corporation will be able to do the appropriate market research to determine which garages and parking areas can sustain what levels of price increase.
- Raising rates will create fair competition with PAT. It always amazes me how people seem surprised that PAT does so poorly when bus trips are only half (or so) as cheep as monthly parking passes! It was not fair to have PAT compete with government subsidized parking rates. Give both a fair value and then see which one customers prefer.
- There doesn’t seem to be any other way to fund the pensions. As far as I’m concerned increasing the funds in the pension fund must happen. If you don’t think we should lease the parking garages, you better have another solution in your back pocket. Right now we are in a very dangerous cycle of debt (not unlike someone who lives in a house they can’t afford) because we have this looming debt that we are missing critical things just to make the minimum payments on.
We can argue about the details all day and night, but my temptation is to trust them to people with more time. I will continue to support the leasing of the garages conceptually, unless someone can challenge those three points.