Today’s Headlines

  • Goldsmith Raises Prospect of Privatizing NYC’s Parking Meters (Post)
  • FDNY Tests Out New Non-Emergency Response: Driving Normally (NYT)
  • Transpo Projects Grind to a Halt in NJ as ARC Tunnel Dispute Heats Up (Star-Ledger)
  • MTA’s Efforts to Streamline Management Turn Into Bad Press for the MTA (Post)
  • Schumer’s Running an Ad Touting His Support for Transit Commuter Tax Break (Transpo Nation)
  • Joyriding 16-Year-Old Speeds Down Midwood Street @ 63 mph, Kills Passenger in Crash (News, Post)
  • At Least Barclays Center Won’t Repeat LIRR’s Atlantic Terminal Bollard Blunder (Bklyn Paper)
  • Damned PPW Bike Lane Messing With the Right to Compose Shopping Lists in Traffic (Brooklynian)
  • Times Editor Fantasizes About Banishing “Pushy Drivers” to Transit (City Room)
  • New $612M Willis Ave Bridge Officially Opens; Still Free to Drive Across (NY1)
  • Bob Mionske Gets Inside the Head of Hit-and-Run Motorists (Bicycling)
  • Looks Like Vito Lopez Has a Few Placards to Spare (Daily Politics — scroll down)

More headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill

  • Larry Littlefield

    “Oh, no!” Chicago Alderman Scott Wauguespack exclaimed after being told that New York officials were studying what his city had done. “It filled the budget gap for one year,” he said. “Now, we’ve lost our revenue stream for the next 70 or so years.”

    What generation is Goldsmith in?

    I though he was supposed to find efficiencies that provided benefits on an ongoing basis? I guess that’s too hard.

    Selling out future generations, as he says, is a “no brainer.” A generation of zombies will feed off the flesh of our dwindling future as much as they can. This is like a public policy “Night of the Living Dead.”

  • BicyclesOnly

    I follow Goldsmith’s tweets and press mentions, and the guy has kept strictly at the 30,000 foot level of city governance, lobbing “big picure” ideas like parking privatization or imposing “balance” on the DoT’s alternative modes program without providing any details or follow-through. As a result he seems to have contributed zero to solving any of the City’s problems that he’s mouthing off about while building a specious public profile and insulating himself from criticism. I sure hope he’s on the Bloomberg $1 salary plan ’cause that’s about what his services to date have been worth.

  • JK

    Goldsmith’s plan has two parts: have a private company raise meter rates “outsource the political will to raise rates” and second, pocket a share of decades of future revenue in a giant upfront, one-shot. So, let’s call it the parking “revenue one-shot scheme.” Calling it parking “privatization” is totally misleading. It confuses a giant finance scheme with operational savings. You can have a curbside parking system run by a private company, like Mobile Alabama and Charlotte, NC. There, a company maintains meters, collects revenue, and sometimes even does the ticket enforcement and processing. It’s a “privatized” operation, but all of the parking money goes to the city.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “So, let’s call it the parking “revenue one-shot scheme.”

    Exactly. It’s just another fraud by a generation that doesn’t want to leave anything behind in the public sector, for those who already have had lower wages and benefits at every age in the private sector (and in public sector union deals).

    The PR is “privatization” for the right wing and “environmental” for the left wing. It is so offensive.

    Memorable quotes for
    The Big Chill

    Michael: I don’t know anyone who could get through the day without two or three juicy rationalizations. They’re more important than sex.
    Sam Weber: Ah, come on. Nothing’s more important than sex.
    Michael: Oh yeah? Ever gone a week without a rationalization?

  • Times Editor Fantasizes About Banishing “Pushy Drivers” to Transit

    Oh great, more jerks who are going to shove their way onto the trains and buses ahead of me. Thanks, Alice!

  • J:Lai

    Taking an upfront payment for the meters does not mean giving up the value of the income stream. It is simply taking the present value of the future income stream.
    It is conceptually the same as issuing a meter-based bond to borrow against the future revenues from the parking meters.

    This is only bad if you believe that the city is being undercompensated for the the present value of the income stream. Given the tradition of corruption and overpaying private contractors, this is certainly possible, but then it is really just a question of price, and not the mechanism itself.

    I belive the city would be less likely to waste or mis-appropriate the upfront payment than the income stream. $5B upfront would be a very high profile transaction and might inspire at least some investigation by the public or media into how it is being spent. On the other hand, $100MM or so per year is small enough in the context of the general budget to disappear.

    The other thing the city would give up would be the power to set meter rates. I believe the private operator would be much more likely to raise rates than the city, and thus private ownership is desirable.

    In short, I see no downside to the meter privatiziation other than the potential for the city to purposely accept a price that is too low.

  • fdr

    “I believe the private operator would be much more likely to raise rates than the city, and thus private ownership is desirable.’

    You believe it’s desirable. Drivers and their elected representatives won’t. The rate increase in Chicago has been as much of a complaint as loss of the revenue stream.

  • J:Lai

    fdr, your point supports meter privatization, from the standpoint of those who are likely to be reading streetsblog.
    We are the natural constituency to support it.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “I belive the city would be less likely to waste or mis-appropriate the upfront payment than the income stream. 5B upfront would be a very high profile transaction and might inspire at least some investigation by the public or media into how it is being spent.”

    That contradicts my experience. People are concerned about things they have to pay for, not how the government spends money that is “free” and doesn’t cost them anything.

    And borrowed money, cost deferred, and revenues advanced, like pension enhancements, are “free” until a later point, when its just tough luck because of “circumstances beyond our control.”

    How many people reading and commenting on this blog gave a damn about the MTA debts and the pension enhancements a decade ago?

  • fdr

    J:Lai, I agree that the Streetsblog readership is the natural constituency to support meter privatization if higher meter rates will be the result. I’m saying that the possibility of higher rates will arouse the car constituency, which is usually pretty effective.

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