City Parking Officially Privatized: Aldermen Approve Meter Deal

01/04/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Chicago aldermen "afraid" to increase parking meter rates for the last 20 years on Thursday gave a private contractor carte blanche to raise them sky-high -- in exchange for a cool $1.15 billion.

With just three days to contemplate a 75-year transaction, the City Council voted 40 to 5 to unload a fourth major asset -- Chicago's 36,000 parking meters -- and sock it to motorists lucky enough to find a space on Chicago streets.

"We're asked to do these things in such a hurry, we can't really meet our obligation as a legislative body...What it does is make us partners in our own marginalization and I find that profoundly troubling," said Ald. Toni Preckwinkle (4th).

Joining Preckwinkle in voting "no" were aldermen Leslie Hairston (5th), Billy Ocasio (26th), Scott Waguespack (32nd) and Rey Colon (35th).

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