"Suburban commuters, the people most affected by any uptick in parking rates, have no vote in the mayoral election."He makes that note near the end of his editorial and then he drops it, but somehow I will make a whole blog post out of this one line because I think he's looking at the tip of the iceberg of this thinly-veiled city versus suburb issue. City dwellers love the idea of leasing the parking garages and dealing with the city pension problem with the profits. Why? Because city dwellers DO NOT USE the parking garages. City dwellers take the bus or walk to work. We were just rated the 10th best walking city in part because a whopping 12% of us walk to work, the most in the nation after Boston. Another 18% take public transportation.
So, how about the city sells/leases the parking garages to the county? The county can manage them for the good of the county residents and then the city doesn't have to be responsible for taking care of suburban commuters at the expense of our city pensions.
Of course, the county doesn't want to buy the parking garages. Why would they? The county [read: Dan Onorato] also wants to contribute as little as is necessary for the upkeep and running of Port Authority. The county [read: Dan Onorato] also wants to keep the status quo of unjust property taxes. And the people that live in the county? They tend to think this is all a city problem, and they bemoan us city-dwellers for continuously voting in inept government that they have no control over. Well, suburban commuters, you do not have a mayoral vote, but you do have control over your government. You choose to not live in the city, you reject consolidation between city and county, and you vote for people like Onorato who undermine your cause by furthering the fractions between city and county despite boasting about the 2 municipality functions he's managed to merge.
And how did the city get in such poor shape? It seems to me that for a long time people thought it was easier to leave the city instead of help fix it. They were right. It was easier in the short-term, but now we're all paying for it - whether through higher taxes or parking rates. The big problem is that right now, the only one who's really profiting from it all is private parking garage owners.
How about the city offers to eliminate the dreaded parking garage tax, offers to keep ineptly running the parking garages (with their incumbent city pension issues and nepotism) and instead institutes a low wage tax on those suburban commuters? Is there any concession on the city's part that would make this palatable? County membership on the Parking Authority board? A citizen watchdog board made up of both city and county residents?
Let's work together to solve these issues. Let's all elect officials who will actually work together instead of giving lip service to a joke of a consolidation plan. Let's make Pittsburgh and the region stronger instead of just tearing each other apart.