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GARAGEZILLA-SIZED: Steep increases planned for downtown parking, bus fares for disabled

Merciless Mike?   Your Daily Rate Hike report.

COLUMBIA, Mo  8/29/17 (Beat Byte) -- If you live, work, or shop downtown, expect to pay a lot more to park in two city-owned garages. 

Disabled persons avoiding the auto rat race will pay 50% more for bus fare, a hike so steep city manager Mike Matthes is earning the nickname "Merciless Mike."  

Matthes' new city budget proposes the fee and fare hikes.     

So-called "paratransit" buses serve ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) eligible persons.  Bus fare for an ADA-eligible person and companion rise from two to three dollars under the Matthes plan, an enormous 50% increase.  

“Most people with disabilities are at or near poverty,” disability expert Mark Satterwhite told KOMU TV.  “So even to raise rides to $3 per ride is not going to be doable for many people with disabilities.”

Matthes expects the fare hikes to bring in $50,000, part of a $550,000 bus service cost-cutting measure that includes eliminating support for Roots and Blues and True/False

City Hall has a monopoly on downtown parking, with ownership of every garage, parking lot, and metered streets.  The cost of parking has risen so much since Matthes took office in 2012 many people forego a once favorite pasttime: downtown shopping.  
 
Reserved permits to park single cars and trucks in the city-owned garages at Eighth and Cherry Street, across from the Tiger Hotel, and Eighth and Walnut Street, across from the courthouse, will rise 17%, from $115 to $135 per month. 

Non-reserved monthly parking fees jump much higher, 27%, from $75 to $95.  

Quarterly and yearly parking fees also jump 27%, from $220 to $280 and $825.00 to $1,045.00, respectively

The 2017 annual inflation rate was 1.6%. 

The city also owns parking garages at Tenth Street and Cherry Street; Sixth Street and Cherry Street; Fifth Street and Walnut Street; Short Street; and surface parking lots at the Armory; Ninth Street and Ash Street; and Wabash Station. 
 
Rates are not expected to rise this year for any of those facilities.   And one silver lining:  "All persons, including city employees, who have purchased a parking permit in an unmetered off-street facility will be provided an unlimited use bus pass for no additional charge."

 
Want to voice your opinion?   Contact the Columbia City Council:

Brian Treece, Mayor
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Clyde Ruffin
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Michael Trapp
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Karl Skala
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Ian Thomas
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Matt Pitzer
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Betsy Peters  
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Mike Matthes, Columbia city manager
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