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Thursday, May 08, 2008

Leasing HBG Parking Garages

Patriot News reports on the Harrisburg Parking Authority's 3-2 vote last night to contract with a private company to lease nine city parking garages, two public lots and 1,200 metered spaces. Final say from City Council won't come until July.

Could Pennsylvania be on the cusp of breaking new ground? Well, as pointed out recently, 41 out of 46 government parking "authorities" in the US are located in PA . And the $66 million in expenditures by Pennsylvania's parking authorities in represents 98% of the US total.

Of course, the union is opposed to ending their gravy train of government jobs. They are also obviously already posting comments on the news story (scroll down) with arguments such as
"What happens when the lessee goes belly up and someone new owns the contract? Can anyone say default of services?"

Actually, such a unfortunate set of circumstances would likely accrue to the financial benefit of the city as the city would keep the upfront lease payment of $215 million and then go back into the marketplace to get another lease.

It would be like someone leasing your rental property, and if they fail to live up to the contract terms, you get to keep all the money and still get to find another lessee. In a perverse way, the city won't mind if the contractor "goes belly up" because they could essentially make more money that way.

Again, for all the opponents, why does PA need to have 41 of all 46 government "parking authorities" in the US? Answer: It doesn't. The private sector can handle parking just fine, thank you.

BTW, a full privatization of the garages would be even better for the city. There's actually no need for a "Public-Private Partnership" on parking spaces. Such a partnership works well for the Turnpike though!

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