Friday, April 12, 2019

Metro hopes to cash in, seeks private company to operate and enforce street parking

While there are concerns that areas that now have free parking will switch to metered parking, probably they ought to.  As Nashville continues to grow, things are going to change.  Parking spaces have become more valuable. The price of parking should reflect the value of a parking space.  I don't want to pay more to park but realize it is reasonable to do so.

Also, face it; $11 is a cheep price for letting a meter expire; $25 seems like a more reasonable price.  For $11, one may not be too concerned about keeping the meter fed;  a fine of $25 will make one conscious about feeding the meter. I don't like the idea of ending free parking after 6pm and ending free Sunday parking, but Nashville is no longer a sleepy little city and there is no longer an abundance of parking at any time. Metered parking till 10PM also seems reasonable.

Putting in metered parking in places like Green Hills, Five Points, and 12Th Avenue South, may exacerbate the problem of people parking on side streets and taking on-street parking used by residents. There are details that need to be examined. However, the decision of where to put meters is not now a decision in the hands of local residents or the Metro Council.  The decision of where to put meters was already a power exercised by the Traffic and Parking Commission.

With the proposed deal, the city will get $17 million for each of the next two years and then a percentage of parking revenue thereafter. With the city broke, that sounds like a good deal to me. I would rather the city raise fees for services rather than raise taxes. While there may be details that need to be examined, I approve of the concept of privatizing metro's parking.

I am sure some will ask, why not do it ourselves?  Why have an outside firm? Often private companies can provide government services more efficiently than government.  Private firms do not create pension and retiree healthcare obligations for one thing. Also, it is hard to dismiss a public employee if fails to perform.  If done right, contracting for services is often a better deal than expanding government.

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