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Reason Foundation

Out of Control Policy Blog

"The Folly of City-Owned Parking Garages"

Harris Kenny
October 18, 2011, 5:15pm

Parking privatization has found an unlikely ally in Matthew Yglesias, fellow at the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Yesterday Yglesias posted a piece entitled "The Folly of City-Owned Parking Garages" that includes arguments for parking privatization that should sound familiar to regular readers of Reason Foundation's Out of Control Policy Blog, he writes:

Clearly, the ability to park one’s car is valuable. But that’s precisely why there are privately owned garages around to create competition. This is a service that can be provided at market prices for a profit. Alternatively, office developers or retail businesses may construct garages for their own use to encourage customers to show up. The availability of garages does create positive externalities for area businesses, but these can (and often are) re-internalized through deals to provide free or discount parking to people with validation from a nearby retailer. Parking is great—great enough to pay for.

There are parts of Yglesias' piece that miss the mark, but overall it is encouraging to see broadened support for privatizing services that are clearly not a core function of government.

Reason.tv recently sat down with Donald Shoup, economist at the University of California: Los Angeles (UCLA), to discuss this very subject:

For more of Reason Foundation's work on parking privatization, see my colleague Leonard Gilroy's writing here, here and here."


Harris Kenny is Policy Analyst


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