Of the mayor’s proposed revenue source increases that affect car drivers, the City Council seems set to raise on-street parking rates, though perhaps not on Sundays, and institute a $20 vehicle license fee. The parking rate hike is expected to encourage a target 85 percent occupancy rate on downtown streets, as is the city’s stated parking rate goal.
However the Council plans not to raise the commercial parking tax past 12.5 percent (the mayor wanted 17 percent). The mayor’s proposed Walk Bike Ride budget of $12 over two years could be in danger if the revenue sources are not all approved. Though the Walk Bike Ride funding could come from elsewhere in the budget, it seems to be particularly targeted.
“If we accept these cuts, we will be pushing back [the pedestrian and bike master plans] even further,” Licata said. “I would encourage council members to think again about whether the [parking tax] could be nudged up a bit to take into account some of these really pressing needs.” O’Brien added that viewed in the context of a $300 million-plus transportation budget, the $20 million proposed for pedestrian and biking programs “is really just a drop in the bucket. … It’s hard to tell the public that these are our top priorities.”
The council did, through the license fee, add back some funding to work on South Park Bridge replacement, to clean up homeless encampments, to implement the Transit Master Plan, and to increase the neighborhood street fund.
Licata, however, was against charging for parking on Sundays, saying the city should cut people some slack.