Friday, February 18, 2011

Using parking meters to raise local revenue

via Streetsblog

Mayor Bloomberg proposes to raise parking meter rates again to raise revenue:
In Manhattan above 86th Street and in the other four boroughs, meter rates would rise from 75 cents an hour to one dollar, raising $13.8 million in 2012. In Manhattan below 86th Street, meter rates are already scheduled to go up from $2.50 per hour to $3.00, a change which will raise $10.4 million annually.

The Bloomberg administration has already tried once to enact the 25-cent meter hikes. However, led by transportation committee chair Jimmy Vacca, the City Council struck a deal last month to delay implementation of the increased meter rates in the boroughs and Upper Manhattan. They are expected to oppose the same rate hike now, setting up parking rates as one likely front in the coming budget battle between the mayor and the Council.

$13.8 million is only a fraction of the overall budget deficit, but it’s also real money. According to the Independent Budget Office [PDF], $10 million buys 158 new teachers, 956 Head Start slots, or 10 days of residential garbage disposal. If Christin Quinn and the City Council choose to fight over the parking hike, they’re not only prioritizing a discount for drivers over congestion relief, but over everything else that money could buy.

Read the whole post at Streetsblog, but anecdotally it seems that parking reform is being ushered in by lousy local finances. New York is not the only city turning meter money into real dollars. Perhaps the meter rates could be raised higher if the revenue was spent in the community where it was raised. No one will notice a few extra million in the city's coffers but lots of neighborhoods would notice a couple of hundred thousand of dollars of local investment that could be paid by parking revenue.

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