Metro bill proposing free parking for hybrids stalls

Friday, September 17, 2010 at 2:21pm

A proposal to let drivers of environmentally cleaner vehicles park at city meters for free hasn’t gained buy-in just yet.

The ordinance, set to go before the Metro Council on the second of three votes next week, will be deferred for the second time, the bill’s sponsor Councilman Jason Holleman told The City Paper. He said the bill would be taken back up again in November.

Earlier this week, the Metro Traffic and Parking Commission reviewed the bill and deferred weighing in on the matter so commissioners could review the implementation and enforcement of similar policies in other cities. Clearance from the commission is not mandatory for the bill’s passage.

Holleman also said his bill currently lacks the signature of Metro Finance Director Richard Riebeling.

Some skeptics of the proposal, most notably Councilman Michael Craddock, have called the bill “elitist,” pointing out that environmentally friendly vehicles — hybrid, electric and biofuel automobiles — tend to be more expensive than traditional automobiles.

“The elitist thing just isn’t accurate,” Holleman said. “There are several [hybrid] cars that are in the $8,000 to $10,000 range.”

Others have raised questions about the financial effect Holleman’s bill could have on Metro’s parking-meter revenue stream.

Under Holleman’s plan, drivers of clean-technology passenger vehicles would be allowed to park for free at any of Metro’s more than 2,000 parking meters. Six percent of all Davidson County automobiles would be eligible. 

To take advantage of the plan, Davidson County residents would be required to pay an annual $5 processing fee to the County Clerk’s Office to receive a sticker indicating that their vehicle is authorized to park for free. The fee is designed to pay off expenses Metro accrues to implement the plan.

“In my mind, there’s no doubt it’s going to be either revenue-neutral or revenue-negligible,” Holleman said, adding that it’s unlikely the policy would enjoy 100 percent particpation from all eligible drivers.

Holleman’s bill is inspired by Mayor Karl Dean’s Green Ribbon Committee, which recommended that Metro issue window stickers that provide free meter parking for clean-technology vehicles.

“The part that requires the most education is to get people to realize is that it’s not just about the impact on meter revenue, but it’s also realizing that we have federal requirements to meet air quality,” Holleman said. “If we don’t do it this way, we have to do it in a way that probably costs more.”


14 Comments on this post:

By: Titans1999 on 9/17/10 at 12:45

Good luck finding an open parking meter in the downtown area with all the "disabled" State employees parking all day long for FREE. Drive around James Robertson and see all the blue cards hanging and watch the MPD employees walk to work.

You don't have to buy an expensive electric vehicle, just get a doctor's note and a blue card.....

By: JeffF on 9/17/10 at 12:54

This has to be the dumbest idea ever. Hybrids due to their efficiency are not paying a fair share of the gasoline taxes to keep the transportation infrastructure operating. Their owners receive enormous tax credits far in excess of the sales tax they pay. And now people want them to be exempt from the having to pay for other government provided services?

Does anyone even know who pays for actual and necessary government services in Nashville? Based on the TIF and sales tax rebates it doesn't appear so.

By: dangerlover on 9/17/10 at 1:32

Wait, are you seriously arguing that because they use less gas, they don't pay a "fair share" of gasoline taxes? What exactly is a fair share, retard?

By: PKVol on 9/17/10 at 3:48

If this bill goes forward, it should be amended to allow free parking only for the maximum time on the meter and while they are at it, someone in the Metro Council needs to present a resolution to be passed that will encourage the State to change the law allowing people with handicapped placards from being able to park at a meter for free for any time length.

The meters are in place to allow people with short-term business in busy areas to have an opportunity to park and get his business completed and be on his way. With the way it is now with almost all of the meters occupied all day by those with handicapped placards, this system fails everyone.

If they want to make it convenient for those who are handicapped, they can allow those people to park free at LP Field and use the Park It Shuttles to get to and from the workplace.

By: budlight on 9/20/10 at 7:12

dangerlover on 9/17/10 at 2:32
Wait, are you seriously arguing that because they use less gas, they don't pay a "fair share" of gasoline taxes? What exactly is a fair share, retard?
"Retard"? Are you kidding? Can't you dialogue without using politically incorrect terms? Are are you too uneducated to be able to do that.

PKVol, there are so many handicapped tags that they are soon to replace "normal" tags. I wonder if some of those people jumping out of their handicapped vehicles and skipping into a store actually borrowed it from their mom or grandmom or if they have a "mental disability"?

I wish the meter maid would "verify" the blue tag with the license plate.

By: dangerlover on 9/20/10 at 7:54

Sorry budlight, didn't mean to offend you. I wasn't trying to be politically insensitive (not that I care), but was simply using the most appropriate term for someone who thinks that we all share an equal responsibility to consume oil. The argument is akin to saying that since I don't smoke and therefore pay tobacco taxes, I don't have a right to use public health facilities. Also, I can pretty much guarantee that I am (much) more educated than you are.

By: JeffF on 9/20/10 at 8:00

That is okay Bud, it is obvious by Dangerlover's lack of intellect that she does not understand that a hybrid vehicle traveling 10 miles uses the same roads and leaves the same wear and tear as a non-hybrid vehicle. She also does not understand that traffic and street lighting do not dim to save electricity when a hybrid travels by. Dips. also probably does not realize that snow and ice removal costs are the same no matter how little gasoline she uses. Pothole maintenance; yes all vehicles require that be done with a magical thing called "gasoline taxes".

A "fair share" is the among necessary to fund the roads for which they are designated. The leadership of this country will also have to think long and hard about how to tax users of electric and CNG vehicles as well bus riders to figure out how to fund the roads they still use. That is not a political statement, it is an economic reality. Infrastructure has to paid for no matter how green people get.

By: dangerlover on 9/20/10 at 9:12

Half of your sentences don't even make sense and you don't seem to realize how stupid your argument is. Gasoline SHOULD be taxed much more heavily. It will inevitably be; people who consume less oil effectively hasten that outcome. Gas needs to be $6/gallon in order for this country to realize the changes it needs.

By: xhexx on 9/20/10 at 9:43

Where are the hybrid cars in the $8000-10,000 range? He's delusional and dishonest. All the perfect liberal traits.

By: JeffF on 9/20/10 at 12:05

Dudette, you called me out for saying Hybrid owners do not may their fair share in gas taxes then you spout off about gas taxes needing to be higher. News flash dippsy, hybrids still use the roads that other gas burners use. Those roads still need to be paid for and maintained even when the cars are sipping gasoline. Roads do not become less costly even when 100% of everyone is in a Pious or other hybrid vehicle. Hybrid owners are not paying for their fair share of infrastructure expenses because they are not paying as much in taxes.

It is time to remove your head from your liberal arts educated but and learn some accounting and civics.

By: localboy on 9/20/10 at 12:34

Go 'Dores!

By: budlight on 9/20/10 at 1:03

EVERYONE should pay parking fees. NO free passes, no free lunch, no "get outta jail". We are all created equal ???? SO everyone just choke up the parking fee or stay at home.

Thanks dangerlover for apology; I sound harsh in my post. sorry for that.

By: dangerlover on 9/20/10 at 2:10

JeffF, what you don't get is that there is no "fair share" of gasoline taxes. In actual fact, the funds that keep our roads in good shape come from a lot of sources, so the argument that gasoline taxes pay for it all is absurd. My point regarding gas taxes needing to be higher has nothing to do with how much wear and tear a vehicle causes. Frankly, that has nothing to do with anything, but by the same logic, one who rides a bike or scooter has less claim to the use of our roads and infrastructure, and a moron douchebag driving a Hummer has more claim to the roads. It's all kind of moot though, since the simple fact that someone who is ostensibly legally retarded such as yourself apparently has a driver's license. It's enough to keep me off the roads.

By: on 9/20/10 at 5:44

Now that's one of the funniest exchanges I've heard on NCP in a while. With I might add a sensible resolution. dangerlover will stay off the roads!