Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Dowd Wants a Say on Parking Garages

A Pittsburgh City Councilman wants to make sure the council is part of any decision to lease or sell the city’s garages. Councilman Patrick Dowd has introduced legislation requiring the Pittsburgh Parking Authority to seek council approval before sending out and request for proposals to sell or lease Parking Authority assets. Mayor Luke Ravenstahl wants to sell all or a portion of the city owned garages and use the proceeds to help shore up the city’s failing pension system. Dowd says the move is especially important given the lack of Council representation on the Authority’s Board. All five members of the board are appointed by the Mayor and approved by council but Dowd notes that all of the members are serving expired terms and no new names have been submitted to council. Dowd says he wants to make sure all options are explored before making the move. “If the plan is successful my daughter will be older than I am right now when the deal expires,” says Dowd. The Public Parking Authority of Pittsburgh currently operates ten parking garages, two attended surface parking lots, and thirty-seven off-street metered parking lots. Dowd says he wants to make sure the city gets the best value from the assets but he is not sure they should be sold or leased at all. He points to a recent sale of lots in Chicago that have become controversial because there was little or no public debate and or input from the city council in tat city. Dowd says, “We have an example in Chicago that we can learn from. I hope that my colleagues will join me in supporting this critical piece of legislation.” Dowd says the pension issue is the most important policy decision the concil will make in 2010 and this is a big part of that discussion.

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