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Hardly Free Parking

The blame game regarding rising parking rates (Parking Up: The Wrong Fee, Jan. 22) continued Jan. 27, as politicians jockeyed for position like Christmas Eve shoppers in the Kaufmann's garage. Pittsburgh City Councilor Bill Peduto said the Pittsburgh Parking Authority's decision to raise rates by more than 25 percent at most garages -- and by 100 percent or more at some Shadyside lots -- reflected "a profiteering attitude." He called for an audit by City Controller Tom Flaherty. Councilor Sala Udin pointedly noted that a council majority voted to raise parking taxes from 31 percent to 50 percent, effective Feb. 2. "We opened the door for this! We knew there would be consequences," said Udin, who voted against the parking tax hike. Udin asked for a televised hearing on parking rates, inviting the Parking Authority and private operators. On Jan. 29, state Sen. Jim Ferlo proposed legislation that would force the city to return the parking tax rate to 31 percent. Meanwhile the state appointed law firm Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott and consultant Public Financial Management to oversee Pittsburgh's finances. Maybe they can get the scrambling politicos to put it in park.

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