Privatizing public works makes government less efficient


From the Chicago Sun Times, via Eschaton (Heckuva Job):

The private investors who run Chicago’s parking meters are doing better than expected, and now they’re demanding an additional $14 million they say they’re owed under obscure provisions of the wildly unpopular 2008 deal that privatized metered parking and caused rates to soar, records show.[…]

The $14 million bill stems from parking revenues the meter company says it lost when the city took meters out of service last year because of street repairs, festivals and other city-sponsored activities, according to documents obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times.

This is the second time in a year that the company has hit City Hall with a claim for a big parking tab. The Emanuel administration already is in arbitration over a $13.5 million claim over free parking that Chicago Parking Meters says it provided to people displaying disabled-parking placards or license plates in 2010.

That makes the total disputed amount more than $27 million.

The parking meter company took in more than $80 million from meters across Chicago in 2011, according to documents it filed this week with city officials.

See, the private company is not running city parking meters. They are running parking spots in Chicago. and they want their money. City Parking Meters are there for a lot of reasons, and not just to simply to provide parking, but also to control parking availability and provide flexibility for important public esteem building events that need street space to be held, accommodations for the disabled and the like.

Privatized meters are there to make a private company who runs them, money from controlling parking.

From the Sun Times article I cited earlier in this post, Chicago meters made 23 million in revenue the year prior to the private takeover. If you expect this level of production for the next 75 years, they will yield about 1.785 billion for the company that paid 1.15 billion to lease the meters from the city.

Meter revenue has already exceeded that in the 3 years since the private takeover:

Meter collections kept by Chicago Parking Meters LLC since then:

2009: $45.6 million

2010: $71.2 million

2011: $82.8 million

Average those together and you get $4.7904 billion over 72 years. Over 400% profit. 72 more years of this sh*tty deal for Chicago tax payers as revenue from the parking system of their city is siphoned away for a discount price.