Pittsburgh PPP Goes Down in Flames


Pittsburgh PPP Goes Down in Flames

I hate it when that happens. The mayor had an idea. He thought he would lease his parking operation, generated half a billion in up front money, pay off debts and stave off the pension fund takeover by the state. He went out to bid, spend a ton of the city’s money on doing so. He cost the bidders six figures each preparing the bid. And he got a good bid.

Unfortunately, his city council didn’t agree and basically put the kibosh on the deal. Unlike Chicago, this Mayor didn’t have the council in his pocket.

I friend of mine noted this morning that many cities are taking a second look at the idea of selling or leasing their parking. The problem is that they are shedding long term assets to solve short term budget problems. Rather than look inward and cut costs, and increase efficiency like businesses must do, they look at ways to raise revenue. If you are a publisher, it’s like selling your printing press to pay the payroll, rather than take a look at that payroll and see if all of it is necessary.

I think that in many cities, cooler heads are beginning to prevail. I actually heard the Mayor of Los Angeles utter the words “people are going to have to participate in their retirement programs and in their health care.” Yegads – you know, like most private companies. I expect rioting in the streets here in a few months. There is a very large French population in LA.

Seriously, I feel the for bidders who spend a few months spending untold tens of thousands on auditors, engineers, designers and multiple trips to the Steel City, only to find that it was a waste of time for everyone. We all bid on projects, but we do so assuming that there is a project on which to bid. Too bad the Mayor couldn’t have floated a few trail balloons before exercising half the parking industry.


John Van Horn

John Van Horn

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