Monday, March 31, 2008

Free Parking

Lordy! Lordy! Lordy! Guv'ment workers are getting reduced parking! Hide the women and children!

More than 500 City of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County employees get a perk other Downtown commuters can only dream about.

Almost 200 City of Pittsburgh workers pay $70 a month -- and about 340 Allegheny County employees pay $60 a month -- to park in some surface lots and garages Downtown, government records show. That translates to about $3.50 a day for city workers and $3 for county employees.
Be still my beating heart!
"I have to pay more than ($60) just to park my car at home," said Ashley Walters, 26, of Shadyside. "It's kind of insulting."
How about you take a bus, you young, hip urbanite?
City officials defended the preferential parking passes.

Finance Director Scott Kunka said lower parking costs offset employees' "low" salaries.
Of course, the Trib then goes on to blur the difference between "average" and "median" salaries:
The average city worker makes $44,000 a year, according to city records. The estimated median household income in Pittsburgh was about $31,800 in 2006, according to U.S. Census figures.
Of course, there is a voice of reason in the article:
Susan Hansen, a politics professor at the University of Pittsburgh, said reduced or even free parking isn't out of the ordinary for government workers.

"The salaries aren't that good, contrary to popular belief, and the people can make piles of more money in the private sector," Hansen said. "If you want to get good employees, you need to offer them something."
But that doesn't stop members of the all wise general public from casting aspersions:
"They're public servants. They shouldn't get that kind of perk," said Sean Reid, 64, of the South Side, who pays $225 a month, or about $11.25 a day, to park near his job Downtown. "My taxes shouldn't be going toward subsidizing their parking."...

"I pay nearly $300 a month to park a few blocks from where I work (Downtown)," said King, who declined to identify where he works. "Maybe they should pay less. But they should probably be paying about the same as everyone else."
But you know what, if they really want cheap parking, I'm sure there are dozens upon dozens of people in City & County Government that will be willing to trade places with Messrs. Reid and King.

Some of them even have blogs where you can here them rant about how wonderful local government is.


1 comment:

MH said...

Your last sentence is probably what most private sector works would say to the city and county employees who currently get subsidized parking. I'd say it myself except that it might seem a bit hypocritical. I work for Pitt and, after a time on the waitlist, get a small subsidy myself.