The privatization deal would have to be approved by the City-County Council.
Indianapolis - New parking meters and probably higher fees are ahead for downtown Indianapolis and Broad Ripple. Like the Indiana Toll Road and city golf courses, parking in the city is already privatized. But Mayor Greg Ballard plans to revamp the whole system.
Michael Huber, who heads the Mayor's Office of Enterprise Development, said the requests for qualifications will go out next week. Huber said every parking space the city owns will be put up for bid, including the lots at Lucas Oil stadium.
"What citizens can expect to see is a long-term agreement with an operator that covers meters, some garages and city lots downtown," said Huber.
While Huber declined to define "long-term," he said "it will be long enough [for the operator] to recover the investment to improve the meters."
The lease would require the winning bidder to pay $5,000-to-$6,000 apiece for new, high-tech meters, similar to those at White River State Park.
Huber said the new meters would not only take credit cards by "smart" or prepaid cards that could be used at all city-owned meters, lots and garages. He said the goal of a lease is to make parking easier and more efficient while raising money for street and sidewalk improvements.
Right now, meters pull in roughly $5 million a year, half of that from parking and half from fines.
"There's no question we would hope to create efficiencies for a long-term deal in the tens of millions," said
Chicago made $1.2 billion by leasing its meters for 75 years, but rates are now as high as $4.25 an hour which has irked residents and visitors to the Windy City.
You can bet the deal will be in the range of 20-40 years to generate the sort of "tens of millions" Huber says the City would like to make. The deal though will leave the citizens of Indianapolis for decades to come at the mercy of a private vendor who will be much freer to raise parking rates than the City has been. Ask Chicago residents how well that has worked for them.
Once again, this administration shows how completely clueless it is. Local Democrats are cataloguing each and every tax/fee increase proposed by the Ballard administration (and there have been many) with the plan to use those against Mayor Ballard and Council Republicans in 2011. Any Republican who believes the spin that these increases can be explained away to the voters or Democrats won't bother to use them in an election, is being foolish.