June 11, 2012 – New York City may be privatizing a large quantity of its parking meters in an effort to increase capital. The Department of Transportation opened the market for companies, accepting formal applications from various corporations due July 31, 2012.
Privately-owned meters may mean increased parking rates for New York City residents (via MyParkingSign.com)
The price rates of these potentially privately owned parking meters will still be kept under control via government regulation. Ensuring that the parking meters get paid will still be the responsibility of the NYPD. Accordingly, while the meters (and the revenue they earn) will be in the hands of private businesses, parking meters will still be publicly administered and regulated; although the exact terms of this regulation remain undrafted.
The starting collateral for business involvement is $100 million, with interested companies expected to oversee the operation of at least 100,000 parking spaces. This all but guarantees the ownership of parking meters by some of the leading figures in U.S. big business, a political move leaving some New Yorkers anxious.
With the failure of Chicago’s privatization, New York City hopes to strictly regulate privately owned parking meters (via MyParkingSign.com)
The plan is based on a similar move made by Chicago mayor Richard M. Daley in 2008, though it is hoping to achieve more positive results. Chicago’s parking meters were all bought by a company backed by Morgan Stanley, purchased for a ripe sum of $1.2 billion. Within the year, parking rates in Chicago soared to nearly four times their original price. The plan also backfired on the city, with the company expecting compensation for parking space reservation for Chicago events, such as parades and street fairs.
The New York privatization hopes to avoid the mistakes made in Chicago, leaving room for more competition between firms and increased government regulation. While the benefits of this privatization for the general population remain unclear, the sale of parking meters would instigate a great increase in revenue for New York City, relieving budget cuts for public works.