Parking Discount To Fuel-Efficient Car Owners
July 15, 2005
By OSHRAT CARMIEL, Courant Staff Writer
There's a new 50 percent discount on parking in Hartford's three
public garages. If, that is, you happen to meet the following criteria:
You must be a monthly parker, and must own a fuel-efficient car
that can muster at least 30 miles per gallon of gas on city streets
and the highway.
The Hartford Parking Authority board voted Thursday to test out
a program that rewards car owners who have made a commitment to fuel
"We want to promote energy independence. We'd like to promote
fuel efficiency," said Jim Kopencey, executive director of the
Hartford parking authority. "We'd like to encourage cars that
are healthier for the environment."
The discount will begin on September 1 and will last for six months,
after which the authority will assess the proposal's long-term financial
feasibility. Officials aren't sure how many cars would qualify-the
offer is extended to current and future monthly parkers-but they
say it will likely be fewer than five percent of the total parkers.
"That's the wild card here," Kopencey
Owners of cars certified by the federal Environmental Protection
Agency as being fuel efficient qualify for the discount: the Honda
Insight, Toyota Prius, Honda Civic Hybrid, Volkswagen Jetta Wagon
TDI, Volkswagen New Beetle TDI and the Ford Escape Hybrid 2WD.
Those cars will receive a 50 percent discount on the $140 a month
it costs to park at the Morgan Street garage and on the $150 it costs
to park per month at the MAT and Church Street garages.
"We can't control buying habits," said parking commissioner
Richard Twilley, who proposed the idea. "But I see two incentives
here. First, for those who don't drive efficient vehicles, to drive
efficient vehicles. Second, for those who park in private lots with
their high efficiency vehicles to park in our public lots with those
high efficiency vehicles. It's an experiment."
Twilley said he got the idea from New Haven, which last week began
a similar policy.
In that city, residents who drive fuel efficient or alternatively
fueled cars may park for free in the city's metered spaces, said
Derek Slap, a spokesman for New Haven Mayor John DeStefano Jr.
Based on an estimate of New Haven's grand list, officials there
predict about 80 cars will qualify for the program.
"I don't think Hartford is second to anybody," Twilley
said, "whether it's New Haven, New Delhi, New York. I thought
Hartford could do better."
After approving the plan Thursday,
board members held a press conference with Mayor Eddie A. Perez,
who described the proposal as "environmentally
The board voted 4-1 in favor of the idea, with board treasurer Paddi
LeShane casting the opposing vote.
LeShane said later she liked the idea, but said she would have liked
more detailed financial information to assure herself that the garage's
revenue would not be harmed by it.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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