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Chicago, Los Angeles, Tulsa and Jacksonville and Other Local Governments Turning to Privatization

Harris Kenny
April 30, 2012, 7:20pm

In case you missed it, the rollout of Reason Foundation's Annual Privatization Report continued last week with the release of the local government privatization section. This section details the latest trends and government reforms being implemented in cities across the United States.

For example, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel recently announced a plan to raise $7 billion—largely through private financing—to rebuild the city’s critical infrastructure. Emanuel, former White House chief of staff to President Barack Obama, has followed the path blazed by former Mayor Richard Daley, who privatized dozens of city services, including long-term leases of Chicago’s parking meters and the Chicago Skyway toll road, during his tenure. Emanual also implemented a new competitive bidding program in recycling that has lowered costs by over $2 million in the six months since private companies started competing with city crews.

Last year in Los Angeles, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa worked to advance public-private partnerships for city-owned parking garages, the Los Angeles Zoo, animal shelters and public art facilities. While Los Angeles hasn’t moved ahead on zoo reforms yet, Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett successfully partnered with a nonprofit to privatize management of the Tulsa Zoo. Mayor Bartlett is pursuing an ambitious reform agenda with initiatives such as identifying underutilized city assets that could be closed (maintenance garages) and sold (over 500 city vehicles).

Similarly, new Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown is looking to partner with the private sector. Shortly after taking office in 2011, Mayor Brown created a new Office of Public Private Partnerships that’s currently exploring ways to reduce costs on city services and optimize public assets.

This section of the Annual Privatization Report identifies the privatization of parking garage and meter operation as an emerging local privatization trend of the past year, led by newcomer Indianapolis. New York, Sacramento, Pittsburgh, Memphis and Harrisburg are some of the cities that have also investigated parking privatization.

You can find the complete local government section of Reason Foundation’s Annual Privatization Report available online here.

» Annual Privatization Report 2011: Local Government Privatization

» Complete Annual Privatization Report 2011 homepage


Harris Kenny is Policy Analyst


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