Tax Dollars And Sense

$50 million parking ticket

By Celeste Meiffren
Field Director

Chicago Parking Meters, LLC has sent another bill to the city, totaling $22 million, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. To date, the parking meter company has sought reimbursement of almost $50 million for lost revenue due to street closures and disabled parking.

Mayor Emanuel is refusing to pay this $50 million parking ticket. But it is unclear who would win in court if it ends up there, since there is a clause in the contract that does allow CPM to invoice the city for this lost revenue.

As the Parking Ticket Geek highlighted a couple of weeks ago, if CPM charged the city $14 million every year for ‘lost revenue’— and assuming the city will actually pay up— the company will earn back most of the $1.156 billion they ponied up back in 2008 by the end of the lease agreement in 2083.

That is unbelievable.

And in reality, the number will likely be much higher than that, and rise over time as the parking rates increase. So, even just assuming that the number will average what it is this time around, $22 million (though it will likely be more), it will only take the parking meter company 52 years to earn back their investment.

And keep in mind that they will earn back their investment without even including the $80 million+ in revenue that they are already seeing every year.

Just imagine if the City of Chicago decided to replace the meters and raise the rates on its own!

The scariest part of this whole ordeal is that there is still no law on the books protecting taxpayers from getting taken to the cleaner’s again. Certainly, asset privatization has become more unpopular than ever. But the Infrastructure Trust was unpopular too, and we saw that sail right through the City Council.

So until there is a law on the books to protect taxpayers from bad deals, Chicago taxpayers should assume that anything can happen.

Support Us

Your donation supports Illinois PIRG’s work to stand up for consumers on the issues that matter, especially when powerful interests are blocking progress.

Consumer Alerts

Join our network and stay up to date on our campaigns, get important consumer updates and take action on critical issues.
Optional Member Code