IL Voter Group Sues to Overturn Chicago Parking Meter Privatization

The Newspaper
by The Newspaper

Motorists have been hard hit by the increase in the cost of parking in in Chicago, Illinois that began with a deal struck in February. In the central business district, for example, the cost to park for an hour doubled from $1 an hour to $2 and will quadruple to $4 an hour by 2013. Meters must also now be fed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The hikes came after Mayor Richard J. Daley (D) leased the city’s 36,000 parking meters to Morgan Stanley for 75 years in return for an up-front payment of $1.15 billion. The Independent Voters of Illinois-Independent Precinct Organization (IVI-IPO), a liberal government reform group, fought back last Wednesday by filing a lawsuit hoping a judge would find the parking meter contract unlawful.

“This is a horrible deal for Chicago taxpayers,” IVI-IPO spokesman Owen Brugh said. “But IVI-IPO intends to hold the city accountable. Even the city of Chicago has to follow the law.”

The suit claims that the city has no legal right to use public resources to enforce parking regulations and repair the privately owned parking meters for the benefit of a private entity. This arrangement, the suit contends, violates Article 8, Section 1 of the Illinois Constitution which that states “public funds, property or credit shall be used only for public purposes.”

The group also argues that state law giving Chicago the right to “regulate the use of streets and other municipal property” does not give the city authority to lease those streets until February 29, 2084. The suit claims such long-term contracts are inherently invalid because they deprive future city councils of any control over the way the streets and parking meters are regulated.

IVI-IPO is upset that although Daley’s administration will have $1.15 billion to spend now, future generations of motorists could pay more than $3.5 billion in parking charges. If the city makes any improvements to city streets that eliminates a parking space, such as adding a crosswalk or bus stop, taxpayers must pay “damages” to Morgan Stanley.

IVI-IPO asked the Cook County Circuit Court to prohibit the Illinois Secretary of State from suspending the driver’s license of anyone who failed to pay a privately issued parking ticket. The group also wants an injunction that prohibits Chicago from spending any public money for the benefit of the parking meter program.

Morgan Stanley operates the meters under the name Chicago Parking Meters, LLC. A copy of the suit is available in a 700k PDF file at the source link below.

IVI-IPO v. Lux (Illinois-Independent Precinct Organization, 8/19/2009)

The Newspaper
The Newspaper

More by The Newspaper

Join the conversation
2 of 30 comments
  • Porsche986 Porsche986 on Aug 24, 2009

    I am going to echo many of the complaints in the above comments and add an observation. I also live in Chicago in the Buena Park / Lakeview neighborhood and close to Wrigley Field pictured above. My observation is that this new parking meter crap has magically created additional parking spots. Seriously. One of two things is going on here... either people were parking their cars and leaving them a lot more than the metered time without a ticket from the police, or the fact that the private company is REALLY good at keeping an eye on the fee receipts on the dashboards of the cars and people have gotten burned by the expensive tickets. I don't think the city had the legal right to sell the meters off, and I hope they win their suit.

  • R H R H on Aug 25, 2009

    Happy_Endings> Great America = has their own private parking lot with a billion spaces. I can walk there in 15 min. Gurnee Mills = All free parking. On top of that they both bring in tons of outside tax revenue for Gurnee. There is A red light camera there....and the yellow IIRC is 4+ seconds, unlike the sub 3 in Chicago. On top of that the traffic outside of Sat night/Sunday night (great america traffic) is 100x better than Chicago. on top of that, there is a pace bus 4 blocks from my house that takes me to the metra station (30 min away) which I can then commute to downtown in an hour.

  • Grg I am not sure that this would hold up in snow country. It used to be that people in snow country would not be caught dead in a white car. Now that white cars have become popular in the north, I can't tell you how many times I have seen white cars driving in the snow without lights. Almost all cars are less visible in a snow storm, or for that matter, rain storm, without lights. White ones become nearly invisible.
  • Douglas I have a 2018 BMW 740e PHEV, and love it. It has a modest electric only range compared to newer PHEV's (about 18 miles), but that gets me to the office and back each day. It has a small gas tank to make room for the battery, so only holds about 11 gallons. I easily go 600 or more miles per tank. I love it, and being able to take long road trips without having to plug in (it just operates like a regular Hybrid if you never plug it in). It charges in 75 minutes in my garage from a Level 2 charger I bought on Amazon for $350. Had an electrician add a dryer outlet beside the breaker box. It's the best of both worlds and I would definitely want a PHEV for my next car. 104,000 miles and ZERO problems with the powertrain components (so far).
  • Panther Platform I had a 98 Lincoln Mark VIII so I have a soft spot for this. The Mark VIII styling was not appreciated by all.
  • Grant P Farrell Oh no the dealership kept the car for hours on two occasions before giving me a loaner for two months while they supposedly replaced the ECU. I hate cords so I've only connected it wirelessly. Next I'm gonna try using the usb-c in the center console and leaving the phone plugged in in there, not as convenient but it might lower my blood pressure.
  • Jeff Tiny electrical parts are ruining today's cars! What can they ...