Parking meter deal revision gets hearing

Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s proposal to redo the city’s despised parking meters deal gets its first public hearing on Friday.

The city council’s finance committee is expected to hold a total of two days of hearings.

Emanuel says his revised plan would save taxpayers one billion dollars over the remaining 71 years of the deal. The Daley administration made the agreement with Chicago Parking Meters LLC in 2008.

“As much as we all wish it would just go away, there is no silver bullet to release the city from this horrible deal,” said Lois Scott, the City of Chicago’s C.F.O.

The proposal also calls for free parking on Sundays, but extending the hours at night.

24 aldermen are backing the plan.

But, a Tribune analysis found taxpayers could still end up putting hundreds of millions of dollars into the company. The Tribune says most of the extra money would come from penalty payments for meters taken out of service and excessive use of disabled parking permits. The Tribune says the company also could get an additional $76 million from a new pay-by-cellphone system Emanuel wants added to the contract. The Tribune analysis discovered the company could amass an estimated $517 million in additional revenue on top of the parking meter fees it already stands to collect, clawing back nearly 45 percent of the $1.15billion the company paid the city to lease its paid street parking system.

The Chicago Tribune and WGN News Writer C. Hayes contributed to this report.

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