Rahm rejects parking bill
BY CHRIS FUSCO Staff Reporter email@example.com May 24, 2012 11:48PM
Richard Green of Chicago uses a credit card at a dispenser after parking in River North. | Richard A. Chapman~Sun-Times
Updated: July 3, 2012 9:50AM
As Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Thursday rejected the latest multimillion-dollar bill sent to City Hall by the private company that runs Chicago’s parking meters, Gov. Pat Quinn’s office said Quinn plans to sign legislation that might eliminate the problem that leads to such bills.
On May 17, Chicago Parking Meters LLC billed Chicago taxpayers $22 million to reimburse it for free parking the company says it provided to people who displayed disabled-parking placards or license plates for the year ending February 2012.
Emanuel told reporters he’s refusing to pay that bill, as well as two others totaling $27.5 million that the meter company previously sent. One of those bills stems from free disabled parking the company says it provided through the end of February 2011. The second bill is for lost meter revenues from street closures.
“We have real questions as it relates to the documentation that substantiates the claims they think we owe,” Emanuel said of the meter company.
Besides that, a Chicago Sun-Times investigation last year found that able-bodied people were using relatives’ placards, deceased people’s placards, fake placards and even stolen placards to cheat Chicago’s meter system. That abuse is another reason the disabled-parking tab is so high, city officials say.
Illinois law has allowed handicapped motorists to park for free in metered zones for decades. But legislation passed unanimously by both the Illinois House and Senate would change that come 2014.
It would set up a two-tiered disabled-parking placard system that would allow only wheelchair-bound and other severely disabled people to park for free in metered spots. They’d be issued special placards denoting that.
Brooke Anderson, a Quinn spokeswoman, said “the governor looks forward to reviewing and signing” that legislation.