Chicago home to costliest on-street parking in nation, according to report

Chicago home to costliest on-street parking in nation, according to report

High parking fees in the city only add to the heavy burden of taxes and fees Chicagoans face.

Parking in Chicago is costlier than parking in most other cities, according to a new report from data company INRIX. Chicago on-street parking is the costliest in the nation at an average of $13 for two hours. Only New York and Boston exceed Chicago’s average of $22 for two hours of off-street parking.

The parking process also contains implicit costs. Time spent searching for parking is time not spent doing productive work or enjoying leisure. Cars burn fuel and spew emissions as Chicagoans seek places to park. INRIX estimates the search for parking costs Chicago $1,174 per person every year. Only five cities demand more time to find parking.

Although the city of Chicago’s parking meters are privately controlled, the city still takes a bite out of parking with taxes. The city charges a 22 percent tax on daily parking, a 20 percent tax on daily parking on weekends and a 20 percent tax on valet parking. Considering together property taxes, income taxes and sales and excise taxes, Chicago suffers the highest taxation in the state.

Despite those costs, the city shows no promising signs of easing the burdens. Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s proposed budgets have included increased fees and regulations. The mayor has also unequivocally promised monetary support for Chicago Public Schools, despite the precarious financial situation of both the city and CPS.

Chicago parking policy has been the subject of controversy since former Mayor Richard M. Daley negotiated a privatization deal in 2008. Since then, parking fees have brought in nearly $800 million in revenue, but the city receives none of that money. By 2020, the company will have earned what it paid Chicago for the rights to city parking management. The contract extends to 2083. One estimate suggests the city has already lost $41 million on the privatization deal.

City officials owe citizens a commitment to resident-oriented reform. Many of the relatively flexible Chicagoans have left, and those left must face burdensome costs of living and a grim financial outlook.

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