The Hartford city council was right to pass on long-term lease
The Hartford Courant
April 14, 2011
The Hartford city council took the wise path when it recently decided not to pursue a monetization of the city's more than 6,000 metered and off-street parking places. City officials had for months considered leasing the spaces to a private operator for up to 50 years in return for a hefty upfront payment.
The idea is tempting. The money might have been put toward a major and much-needed economic development project. But leasing public infrastructure is a practice to be approached with great caution. It could, for example, tie the city's hands on future downtown development, or discourage increased use of transit. Some Chicago residents complained of too many parking tickets after the Windy City embarked on a parking concession program.
Also, it would have been tempting to use some of the money to plug projected deficits. As city council President rJo Winch said, it's better to cut spending and look for other sources of revenue. Ms. Winch said she was uncomfortable with the parking idea; we share her sentiment.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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