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Chicago Parking Meter Plan: Rahm's Tweaked Deal Getting First City Council Hearing

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CHICAGO PARKING METER PLAN
Cars speed past a Chicago parking meter kiosk across the street from St. Alphonsus Catholic Church Monday, April 29, 2013 on Chicago's North Side. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green) | AP

Mayor Rahm Emanuel's proposed parking meter plan is about to get its first public hearing test.

The Chicago City Council's Finance Committee is slated to take up Emanuel's controversial plan on Friday.

Emanuel's proposed tweaks to the city's deal with Chicago Parking Meters LLC, which bought the city's meters in a $1.2 billion, 75-year privatization deal in 2008, include free parking on Sundays and extended meter hours every other day, most dramatically in the River North area. The plan is intended to make the parking meter deal "a little less bad for the next seven decades," the mayor previously said.

The hearing comes on the heels of a Chicago Tribune analysis that found Chicago Parking Meters LLC could stand to pull in an extra $517 million beyond the parking meter fees it already has coming its way. The windfall could come via out-of-service penalties and "excessive" disabled parking use from the city as well as profits from the new pay-by-cell system included in Emanuel's plan.

City Hall has insisted the city will save an estimated $1 billion in savings under his plan, but some aldermen are skeptical. Still, the Tribune notes that some City Council members described feeling pressured to support the proposal. Shortly after it was introduced, 24 aldermen said they supported the mayor's plan, just two less than the number needed to formally approve it.

Last year, CPM enjoyed a $30 million surge in meter revenue. The company's 2012 revenue is an even bigger increase over the approximately $24 million the city made off the meters in 2008.

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