Commentary

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.

The project aims to promote solvent, sustainable retirement systems that provide retirement security for government workers while reducing taxpayer and pension system exposure to financial risk and reducing long-term costs for employers/taxpayers and employees. The project team provides education, reform policy options, and actuarial analysis for policymakers and stakeholders to help them design reform proposals that are practical and viable.

In 2016 and 2017, Reason's Pension Integrity Project helped design, negotiate and draft pension reforms for the state of Arizona's Public Safety Personnel Retirement System and Corrections Officer Retirement Plan, which both passed with overwhelming bipartisan support in the state legislature and were signed into law by Gov. Doug Ducey.

Gilroy is also the Director of Government Reform at Reason Foundation, researching privatization, public-private partnerships, infrastructure and urban policy issues.

Gilroy has a diversified background in policy research and implementation, with particular emphases on competition, government efficiency, transparency, accountability, and government performance. Gilroy has worked closely with legislators and elected officials in Texas, Arizona, Louisiana, New Jersey, Utah, Virginia, California and several other states and local governments in efforts to design and implement market-based policy approaches, improve government performance, enhance accountability in government programs, and reduce government spending.

In 2010 and 2011, Gilroy served as a gubernatorial appointee to the Arizona Commission on Privatization and Efficiency, and in 2010 he served as an advisor to the New Jersey Privatization Task Force, created by Gov. Chris Christie.

Gilroy is the editor of the widely-read Annual Privatization Report, which examines trends and chronicles the experiences of local, state, and federal governments in bringing competition to public services. Gilroy also edits Reason's Innovators in Action interview series, which profiles public sector innovators in their own words, including former U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary Peters, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, former New York City Mayor Rudy Guiliani and more.

Gilroy's articles have been featured in such leading publications as The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, New York Post, The Weekly Standard, Washington Times, Houston Chronicle, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Arizona Republic, San Francisco Examiner, San Diego Union-Tribune, Philadelphia Inquirer, Sacramento Bee and The Salt Lake Tribune. He has also appeared on CNN, Fox News Channel, Fox Business, CNBC, National Public Radio and other media outlets.

Prior to joining Reason, Gilroy was a senior planner at a Louisiana-based urban planning consulting firm. He also worked as a research assistant at the Virginia Center for Coal and Energy Research at Virginia Tech. Gilroy earned a B.A. and M.A. in Urban and Regional Planning from Virginia Tech.