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MBTA proposes to sell off parking to minimize debt

An MBTA proposal to sell revenue generated by T-owned parking garages and lots aims to avoid massive pitfalls Chicago officials made in privatizing its parking meters recently.

An MBTA proposal to sell revenue generated by T-owned parking garages and lots aims to avoid massive pitfalls Chicago officials made in privatizing its parking meters recently.

In 2008, Chicago leased its meters for 75 years in exchange for $1.15 billion. Unable to control parking rate increases, Chicago then saw its meter fees jump to the highest in the nation.

The T, however, would control parking rates under a proposal to sell parking revenue for an upfront fee that could fetch as much as $325 million.

“This is a more prudent approach to using the assets we have in a smart way that allows us to close the budget gaps,” MBTA GM Rich Davey said.

“At the same time [we will] not be held hostage by the private entity that could raise rates at their whim.”

The T would retain an annual revenue stream from parking and would still be responsible for facility upkeep. More details are expected on Jan. 25.

“I’m not skeptical,” MBTA Board member Elizabeth Levin said. “We just need to understand exactly what it is.”

 
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