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In Miami, Advocating for Parking Surplus to Pay for Better Transit

11:14 AM EDT on September 15, 2010

What if cities used parking fees to improve public transit? Toronto has been doing just that, to the tune of roughly $50 million per year. In the U.S., Boulder, Colorado uses revenue from public parking garages to fund bus passes.

Now transit advocates in the city of Miami are asking, "Why not us?" As Miami's public officials wrestle for control of the semi-autonomous (and profitable) Miami Parking Authority, Tony Garcia at Transit Miami sees an opportunity. Parking could be the key to developing a better public transit system:

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After the slow and quiet demise of the streetcar proposal, the City has been sleeping with regard to transit planning. If the City expects voters to side with them they are going to have to show that they understand the connection between parking supply and transit/mobility by using parking revenue to address the mobility needs of city residents. The potential increased revenue from the MPA could be leveraged to bring premium transit expansion to the city.

The long planned streetcar, the Brickell Metromover loop, and other local city projects must have local support and funding. As our downtown and surrounding suburbs densify and become ever more urban, City of Miami officials will not be able to look to the County to solve their mobility problems. The proposed MPA restructuring could be the beginning of an overhaul of how the City of Miami fulfills its mobility needs.

The city of Miami will ask voters to determine the future of the MPA in November, according to The Miami Herald. The city's mayor, Tomás Regalado, has suggested the agency's $23 million in annual revenues could be leveraged to borrow money to replenish the city's reserve fund. The MPA has been contributing between $1-2 million to city coffers annually.

Also on the Network today: Bike Portland reports on a study that found the city’s “bike boxes” have made cycling safer. And Bike PGH and My Wheels are Turning inform readers about PARKing Day events in Pittsburgh and Traverse City, Michigan. The event encourages people to convert metered parking spaces to temporary parks -- bring your own lawn chair.

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