Indianapolis Considering Parking Meter System Lease

Cory Schouten at the Indianapolis Business Journal reports that Indy is considering a variety of proposals to generate revenue from its parking meter system—including a Chicago-style, long term system lease—to fund city road and sewer infrastructure improvements:

City officials are considering several modernization proposals designed to wrestle more revenue out of the city’s roughly 4,000 parking meters. They’re considering a range of proposalss, including the possibility of a long-term lease to a private firm, a move that netted Chicago more than $1 billion last year.

One estimate pegs the value of a long-term lease of Indianapolis’ meters at more than $100 million. The meters already add more than $3 million per year to city coffers,, but proposals from private firms responding to a city request for information say that number should be much higher.

For starters, they say the city’s hourly rate of 75 cents is well below the national average and should be raised. Multi-space meters that accept credit-card payments and a variable rate structure also would add to the bottom line.

Chicago put the windfall from a 75-year lease of its 36,000 meters mainly toward a budget deficit, but Indianapolis would use any proceeds to make badly needed sewer and road improvements, said Michael Huber, director of enterprise development in the Mayor’s Office.

He said the city hopes to make a final decision on the meters in the next few months. An Infrastructure Advisory Commission formed in March would set priorities for spending any new revenue.

For more on parking meter privatization, see here, here, here, here, here and here.

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Leonard Gilroy is Senior Managing Director of the Pension Integrity Project at Reason Foundation, a nonprofit think tank advancing free minds and free markets. The Pension Integrity Project assists policymakers and other stakeholders in designing, analyzing and implementing public sector pension reforms.

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