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

City Privatizing Parking Meters

It looks like Mayor Daley's giant budget gamble has paid off -- and then some.

On Monday, the city received what a top mayoral aide described as a "winning bid" for Chicago's 35,000 parking meters.

The winner and final price won't be known until Daley announces it Tuesday. But, it's large enough to fill the $150 million budget gap this year and next needed to avoid another painful round of layoffs and tax increases -- and leave a pile of money left over to finance city infrastructure projects.

The sale of yet another city asset means motorists will almost certainly have to pay more to park at metered spaces -- and even higher prices during peak periods in congested areas -- in exchange for more cashless payment and pay-by-phone options.

Based on net parking revenues of $19.5 million in 2007, the city could be in line for an up-front fee similar to the 99-year, $1.83 billion Chicago Skyway. In exchange, the city and Park District would wash their hands of the parking meter headache.

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