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You have to just love it

There have been a number of articles in the MSM lately describing local city councils raising parking fees. They are similar in one aspect. The rise in onstreet parking pricing has absolutely nothing to do with availability of parking, need for parking, number of cars needing parking at a particular time. If you read between the lines, the rates are set based on the revenue they will produce. In other words, they are a tax, not a fee.

Fees are based on providing a service. Say for instance, you put a new room on your house. You are charged for a building permit. In exchange, the city comes out and inspects the project to ensure the roof won’t fall on you. The same is true for fees charged to gas stations, restaurants, and the like. They make sure you get a gallon of gas of you pump a gallon of gas, or that the rats are kept to a minimum in the kitchen at the newest 5 fork dive in town. Seems like a good exchange.

Parking charges should be the same. You pay for the parking, and the city ensures that the spaces are marked, rules are followed, and space is available when needed.  By altering the prices based on supply and demand, in other words the free market, those needs are met.

In lots controlled by private concerns, this happens daily. Rates are changed based on how many empty spaces are in the lot, what is going on in the neighborhood, and what the traffic will bear.  If the lot gets too full, the owner raises the prices. If its too empty, the prices go down. Goldilocks pricing at it finest.

However on street pricing is set by a city council who is looking not to preserve spaces, make the parking more convenient to the parkers, or lower congestion, but to line the coffers of the city. How many city councilpersons have you heard say "Gee, if we raise the charges a buck an hour, it will increase our revenue $5,000,000 a year. Let’s do it."

Charges for parking on street have moved from a fee to provide a product or service, to a tax to fill the general fund. Just another way to raise money to be used for things other than those parking related.

JVH

John Van Horn

John Van Horn

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