Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Buses, Parking & Pensions (Oh my!)

There's probably many good reasons why I'm not the head of the Port Authority of Allegheny County... the most obvious of which is my well documented, if unusual, collection of Smurf Erotica... but slightly less well known is my ability to see an opportunity when it's staring me in the face. I, of course, am speaking about the proposed sale of the City's parking assets to fund the ailing pension system. Steve Bland is missing a golden opportunity here.

Now, if I'm head of PAT I'm doing one of two things:

First, I'm out in front of the public, news cameras, reporters, random people with nothing else to do, talking about how good this plan will be for you. And, of course, by "you" I mean "me". For, you see, I'd bet that despite the apparent elasticity of demand for parking, I'm guessing that increased parking rates are going to happen, and are going to drive(!) people to taking public transit, solving my own budget problem.

Or alternatively, instead of the Pittsburgh Parking Authority buying these garages and meters, as in the Lamb plan, I'm making a play to buy them myself. Now, you're probably saying "the Port Authority already has a budget deficit of it's own...I mean you just mentioned it in the last paragraph for Pete's sake." While that's true, and shame on you for pointing out my flaws, (1) this would be a capital investment on PAT's part, (2) there's already precedent for PAT owning parking garages, and (3) doing stupid shit has never stopped PAT in the past.

OK, so if PAT owned all these garages, what would they do with them? Well, if you've watched Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, you'll know the answer.

No, I'm not talking about wanting to nail the animated chick with the huge... bike racks. I mean the insidious plot of Judge Doom: buying the trolley line so he could dismantle it in favor of a cars and superhighways. Only this would be the opposite of that.

And there you go! Two problems solved: pension gets partially funded and PAT eliminates a competitor to it's business model. And maybe we'd rid ourselves of the cartoons in City Council while we're at it.

Of course, there's a big obvious flaw in the plan: something tells me that the Port Authority doesn't have a supervillain on staff.

"Yet," he says, twirling his mustache.

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