While Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl was off meeting with high-powered business leaders in Asia, his plan to lease the city’s parking garages and meters quickly unraveled.
“It’s pretty clear where council stands,” he said.
There was only one council vote out of nine to adopt Ravenstahl’s 50-year lease plan that would double and triple garage and meter rates over the next few years.
Ravenstahl said the outcome was clear.
“Rejection of our plan is equivalent to endorsing state takeover,” he said. “Why? Because just as we predicted long ago no other viable alternatives exist.”
The mayor dismissed the compromise plan offered by Council President Darlene Harris and council members Patrick Dowd and Natalia Rudiak that City Controller Michael Lamb supports.
“It’s time to level with the residents of our city,” Ravenstahl said. “This alternative debt plan isn’t real, and it is not acceptable to me.”
Ravenstahl called that plan illegal and called council’s actions irresponsible.
“I cannot and will not be held responsible for actions of city council no matter how irresponsible I find those actions to be,” he said.
Ravenstahl rejects the idea that higher meters and garage rates will hurt local residents and force businesses out of the city.
“To me, it’s not real because I look at the facts and I look at the numbers,” he said.
The mayor, who through the Parking Authority that he appoints, said parking rates at the garages will go up anyway.
“We very well may do that because we have to prepare for state takeover,” he said. “State takeover is going to mean we need additional revenue.”
A vote on the measure will be taken Tuesday morning.