Monday, January 26, 2009

Dowd Questions Potential Lease of City Garages

Last week, Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl expressed his interest in privatization of Parking Authority-owned garages. This privatization, said Ravenstahl, could yield the city several hundred million dollars which he would use to eliminate debt and shore up a floundering pension fund.

City Councilman Patrick Dowd opposes this idea. Dowd believes the composition of the Parking Authority board—which would have the final vote on the matter—needs to be ironed out. He says one of the spots on the board ought to be appointed to a city councilperson.

Dowd also wants to further understand the garage-leasing strategy. The councilman says he’s concerned about possible rate increases if the city turns over control of the garages and what that could mean for Downtown businesses.

The Pittsburgh Parking Authority voted to hire a consultant to look into the effects of garage leases on Friday.

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