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Reason Foundation

Governing on Chicago's Parking Meter Privatization; Las Vegas Issues RFP

Leonard Gilroy
January 25, 2010, 1:38pm

Las Vegas issued an RFP last week to solicit an analysis of opportunities to privatize their parking garages and metered parking system, adding it to the growing list of local governments ‚??including Indianapolis, Pittsburgh and Allegheny County, PA‚??jockeying to become the first to follow in Chicago's footsteps.

For the Las Vegas RFP, the scope of services includes an analysis and identification of public-private partnership opportunities for the city's parking systems and assets to achieve one or more of the following objectives: retire/restructure debt, maximize revenues, reduce expenses, capitalize revenue streams, stabilize revenue and optimize operations.

On a related note, former Indianapolis mayor and Harvard professor Steven Goldsmith dissects Chicago's parking meter privatization in a Governing article last week that's well worth a read. Goldsmith points out what he sees as three mistakes‚??transition issues, a rate hike simultaneuous with privatization (a policy decision); the use of the proceeds (a policy decision);‚??but overall he concludes that Chicago's parking meter privatization has ultimately been successful, on balance.

I'd add two comments here:

Last, the January 2010 issue of Parking Today features an article of mine on Chicago's parking meter privatization, available as a PDF here. For more, see my detailed overview of Chicago's transaction at, as well as my recent interview with Chicago's CFO Gene Saffold.

Leonard Gilroy is Senior Managing Director, Pension Integrity Project &
Director of Government Reform

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