Privatizing Indianapolis parking sensible move

Daily Journal

A state agency is looking to privatize management of parking garages and lots around the Statehouse and state government office buildings in downtown Indianapolis.

The private manager would oversee facilities with nearly 7,000 parking spaces at the government complex and the nearby White River State Park. The state Department of Administration expects to select a company next month, which would start managing the parking facilities by Feb. 1.

According to the agency’s request for proposals document, the state’s primary reason for seeking outside management is to find spaces for about 700 employees who currently park at leased facilities.

In a media interview, Department of Administration spokeswoman Shelley Triol said the management change won’t lead to state employees facing new parking fees. She added, “Free parking will be preserved for state employees and will most likely be preserved for authorized contractors as well.”

Weekend parking could be a revenue opportunity for the management company. One of the state garages is used for Indianapolis Colts parking and other downtown events, with only about 100 state employees needing regular weekend access, according to the agency.

Use of the White River State Park facilities is more varied because they are used by visitors to the park, the Indiana State Museum, the Eiteljorg Museum and the NCAA Hall of Champions.

The contract would run for three years with the possibility of two one-year extensions.

Having a private contractor operate the garages makes sense. This is not an essential government service, and the employees need not be state workers.

By contracting the work to the private sector, it is possible the state will save taxpayer money in the long run without sacrificing service or convenience.

At issue

A state agency is looking to privatize management of its parking garages in downtown Indianapolis.

Our point

A parking garage is not an essential state function and likely could be managed for less money by the private sector.