Los Angeles May Privatize Parking
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted May 16, 2009 1:46 PM CDT
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – The mayor of Los Angeles wants the city to follow Chicago’s lead and privatize parking meters and garages to stem the city's budget crisis, the LA Times reports. Antonio Villaraigosa says LA can pull in at least $80 million by leasing meters and six city garages to private companies. Critics, noting a backlash in Chicago after rates were quickly jacked up, aren't pleased. “This is fool’s gold,” one councilman said. “What a stupid idea.”

Recalcitrant councilmembers point out that parking rates were just raised in LA, making the timing suspect. “If we were stockbrokers, we'd be in jail with Bernie Madoff,” the skeptical councilman said. Though Villaraigosa urged the council to “think outside the box and follow the lead of other major cities like Chicago,” that city’s experiment has been rocky. Angry drivers responded to rising costs and tickets by vandalizing meters with tire irons and Super Glue.