Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl today rejected city council's plan to sell Pittsburgh's parking assets to the Parking Authority in order to pay down a portion of the city's pension debt. "I have no intention whatsoever of supporting this plan and I think if the residents of the city saw it they would support that position as well." Ravenstahl cited the lack of public airing of council's plan and the parking rate hikes that it would implement as two of his chief concerns, as well as the still unknown financial burden that a state takeover by the Pennsylvania Municipal Retirement System would require. One of council's issues with the mayor's plan to privatize the city's parking garages and meters was the steep hikes it would mean for residents. Today, Ravenstahl called their concern disingenuous, while comparing the rates council would implement to help pay down the 30 year bond the Parking Authority would float to purchase the parking assets for $225 million. Legislation will be presented to the Parking Authority Board on Wednesday to buy the parking assets and Ravenstahl says he won't seek to influence their decision though he hopes they'll reject it. He plans to hold a meeting on Monday at 1 p.m. in council chambers to compare his recently rejected plan for a private takeover of the parking assets, to city council's plan. His plan would have leased parking assets to LAZ Parking and JP Morgan Asset Management for $452 million dollars for 50 years - council panned his proposal 7-1. Ravenstahl says if some other action isn't worked out he will veto council's plan and prepare for state takeover.
Click here for more information on council's pension/parking plan.