Parking on my mind... and your daily marcellus
Among the things I still don't quite get about the parking story thus far..... if it was such a good idea to lease much of the city's parking assets, then why did the county recently reject outright considering a similar leasing plan for airport parking? They spent a fair bit studying the concept. That is a bit more perplexing given the newsoid yesterday that airport parking revenues are up. The airport parking really ought to be a much more attractive asset for potential leasors... All cheaper to maintain surface lots, no big unknown cost of maintaining old vertical structures. Virtually none of the uncertainty introduced by the political process now or in the future. Pretty much a captive demand and what I understand are pretty high utilization rates out there. Just makes you wonder what the back story is behind both deals that makes leasing city parking such an attractive idea to some, but leasing airport parking a complete non-starter. There is a story there somewhere.
and for your daily marcellus, I find the whole story that the drilling industry is threatening retribution against the city of Pittsburgh because of efforts to regulate drilling in the city a really fascinating little spat. I am racking my brain to think of comparable attempts by an industry to hurt a specific municipality over proposed legislation. This really has the potential to be a big story in public administration world. Certainly ranks way up there on the Dale Carnegie (how to win friends and influence people) scale. It also is a fascinating case study when it comes to municipal finance and regionalism. The things the industry are threatening to hurt Pittsburgh with are indeed for the most part potential economic negatives for sure... but in most cases they are negative for the Pittsburgh region or Allegheny County, NOT things that will impact the City of Pittsburgh much as best I can tell. Things like threatening to not have conferences in Pittsburgh. Well, guess what.. the hotel tax goes to the county? The hurt put on the Sports and Exhibition Authority (SEA) could conceivably hit the city in part some day, but the SEA is half a ward of the county. Could hurt some Pittsburgh-located businesses I suppose, but most workers in the city are not city residents so it's hard to see any income tax hit. A property tax hit? Possible in the very long run, but a base year assessment system makes incremental changes in real estate valuation pretty inconsequential to municipal finances. Maybe those marcellus shale firms will stop locating in the city of Pittsburgh proper? Oh, wait.. nevermind that one. So you can really tie together whole bunches of policy issues in this. It really is pretty fascinating; I hope this one heats up some more. I see a journal article on it all some day. All sorts of great titles possible for it: The City vs. The Shale or something like that. Probably does not rise to the level of movie script fodder.
The stranger thing is that I thought for sure the Marcellus Shale Coalition was on record once saying none of its members were engaged in development of shale drilling inside the city proper. So why do they care so much? I suspect the sheer symbolism of a municipality saying no has implications elsewhere in the state is pretty important to them.
and just because the Pittsburgh 2 degree rule is ubiquitous... Airport parking revenues I suspect are up because of the news that airport traffic has actually turned up after a long period of decline. Why is that? Nobody ever really wants to talk about it, but I will lay good odds that airport traffic is up because of Marcellus shale workers flying in and out on their temporary work shifts.