Parking Industry Protests City Congestion Fee

CHICAGO (CBS) — Mayor Rahm Emanuel has proposed a $2 congestion fee for people who park in public garages and lots downtown.

But WBBM Newsradio’s Dave Marsett reports the parking industry is distributing flyers opposing it.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Dave Marsett reports

Mayor Emanuel hopes the fee will reduce traffic downtown, and perhaps convince people to take public transportation rather than drive.

But the Parking Industry Labor Management Committee says the fee will not change people’s habits. The group dismisses the fee as just another tax on workers and businesses, the Chicago Tribune reported.

The group says the Chicago Transit Authority and Metra couldn’t even handle the increased volume of ridership that might result from the fee, the Tribune reported.

If the fee were implemented, drivers would pay an extra $2 to park in lots and garages the central business district on weekdays, on top of the existing $3 city parking tax, the Tribune explains.

If you pay for parking downtown on a weekly basis, the extra tax per week would go from $15 to $25. The tax on high-end monthly garage spaces could increase from $60 to $100 dollars.

But the mayor said the city would benefit from the fee.

“On a typical work day, our central business district is jammed with vehicles, which makes it harder to do business,” Emanuel said in his budget address last month. “So I’m proposing a downtown congestion premium of $2 a day – only on weekdays – for parking garages and lots downtown and in River North.”

In a separate development, 28 aldermen have issued a letter to Mayor Emanuel, expressing concern about some of the cuts and fee hikes in the budget.

  • Roger Ralph

    Ok. So let me get this straight. They want us to use public transportation which is already overpriced, underfunded, overcrowded and unreliable?

    • R.N.

      For night shift workers, there are many bus lines that do not run after 11 p.m., so driving to work is a necessity. I would take public transportation to work if it were running at late hours.

  • RBGG

    The biggest cause of downtown traffic congestion is cabs.

    Cabs don’t use parking garages but everybody else gets blamed for the congestion that has been there since I started working downtown in 1965.

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