Thursday, March 08, 2012

Parking Revenues From ACS Give-Away Disappoint, No Surprise

Parking rates in Indianapolis have doubled, and the politically-connected company that now owns the city's parking meter assets is making a bundle of money. Who is surprised to hear the city's share of revenues are substantially less than what the city had anticipated? The 50-year privatization deal with ACS was suppose to net the city $2.1 million its first year of operation. Instead, the vendor returned just $1.4 million to the city and pocketed $3.4 million, but the Ballard administration isn't disappointed according to a story in today's Star by Jon Murray.

The interesting figure in this story that is overlooked is how much the private operator collected from parking citations. How about $1.3 million? That's 30% of the $4.7 million in total revenues generated last year by the parking meter assets. Many commuters have complained that some of the new electronic machines in high traffic areas have been rigged to miscalculate the amount of time purchased for a spot so the private operator can write more tickets. Permit fees for street closures now charged to groups which put on special events netted $88,160. The private operator also charged the city $286,000 for meter closures caused by the city due to street work.

This deal was always about putting money in the pocket of a politically-connected vendor that was represented by the Mayor's favorite law firm. If the city simply wanted to realize more revenues from its parking meter assets, it would have implemented the new technology, along with the higher parking rates, and retained ownership of the public asset. Over time, the city would have pocketed hundreds of millions in dollars it unnecessarily gave up to the private operator. As a consequence, your taxes will be higher because someone wanted this private operator to make a lot of money at your expense.

1 comment:

Downtown Indy said...

Yep, the contract is working as planned. Not as advertised, but as planned.