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San Francisco firm set to land towing contract

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San Francisco-based AutoReturn is in line for a five-year citywide towing-management contract after getting unanimous approval from the Indianapolis Board of Code Enforcement.

The board voted Wednesday evening to allow code enforcement Director Rick Powers to sign the agreement, which will be effective July 1. The vote followed a closed-door session, which the board requested after members raised questions about the pending deal.

AutoReturn is a logistics company that will use local towing firms as subcontractors. The towing-management contract will replace the current multiple-territory-based agreements. The deal applies to city-ordered tows, which number about 29,000 per year.

Code enforcement spokesman Adam Baker said he could not reveal details of the contract or disclose the names of losing bidders until after it's signed.

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  • Don't feel sorry for them...
    Don't feel sorry for these local tow guys, many of them are crooks anyway. They are towing your cars for things that they themselves are doing constantly (ie: parking illegally, drinking & driving, etc). This contract with the company out west has been in the works for many years, the local guys had their chance to show the city they could run their businesses in a legitimate manner & they failed. I don't like the idea of an out of state company taking over work that should be handled on a local level but if your local guys can't handle it, they don't deserve it
  • oh boy!
    Just what we need in Indiana, one MORE out of state company doing 'work' that out own local folks could do cheaper (and without the kickbacks to corrupt politicians)
  • Bad News
    Adding a middle man to the towing contract may seem like a good idea but the public and the tow companies will be the ones to suffer while the City collects its guaranteed revenue. The lack of transperancy and ability for the public to way in and for the other bidders to protest this decision is pathetic. Have you seen the tow rates in San Francisco where this firm does business? Take a look it's frightening. I feel bad for the local tow companies who have worked on this contract and who are very capable of doing everything this outside firm has promised. They will suffer a significant loss in revenue and probably have to lay off Drivers and other staff.
    • PuddyFudge
      This is why we don't have any corporate headquarters in Indiana, smh. Our politicians are killing this state.
    • Another Out of State Firm?
      Could we really not find a local firm to handle towing for the city? Last year we awarded a 15 year Lottery management contract to a company in Rhode Island. Guess our city/state leaders don't think Indiana based companies are sophisticated enough to handle their contracts. What other state/city contracts have been awarded to out of state owned companies?

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    1. to mention the rest of Molly's experience- she served as Communications Director for the Indianapolis Department of Public Works and also did communications for the state. She's incredibly qualified for this role and has a real love for Indianapolis and Indiana. Best of luck to her!

    2. Shall we not demand the same scrutiny for law schools, med schools, heaven forbid, business schools, etc.? How many law school grads are servers? How many business start ups fail and how many business grads get low paying jobs because there are so few high paying positions available? Why does our legislature continue to demean public schools and give taxpayer dollars to charters and private schools, ($171 million last year), rather than investing in our community schools? We are on a course of disaster regarding our public school attitudes unless we change our thinking in a short time.

    3. I agree with the other reader's comment about the chunky tomato soup. I found myself wanting a breadstick to dip into it. It tasted more like a marinara sauce; I couldn't eat it as a soup. In general, I liked the place... but doubt that I'll frequent it once the novelty wears off.

    4. The Indiana toll road used to have some of the cleanest bathrooms you could find on the road. After the lease they went downhill quickly. While not the grossest you'll see, they hover a bit below average. Am not sure if this is indicative of the entire deal or merely a portion of it. But the goals of anyone taking over the lease will always be at odds. The fewer repairs they make, the more money they earn since they have a virtual monopoly on travel from Cleveland to Chicago. So they only comply to satisfy the rules. It's hard to hand public works over to private enterprise. The incentives are misaligned. In true competition, you'd have multiple roads, each build by different companies motivated to make theirs more attractive. Working to attract customers is very different than working to maximize profit on people who have no choice but to choose your road. Of course, we all know two roads would be even more ridiculous.

    5. The State is in a perfect position. The consortium overpaid for leasing the toll road. Good for the State. The money they paid is being used across the State to upgrade roads and bridges and employ people at at time most of the country is scrambling to fund basic repairs. Good for the State. Indiana taxpayers are no longer subsidizing the toll roads to the tune of millions a year as we had for the last 20 years because the legislature did not have the guts to raise tolls. Good for the State. If the consortium fails, they either find another operator, acceptable to the State, to buy them out or the road gets turned back over to the State and we keep the Billions. Good for the State. Pat Bauer is no longer the Majority or Minority Leader of the House. Good for the State. Anyway you look at this, the State received billions of dollars for an assett the taxpayers were subsidizing, the State does not have to pay to maintain the road for 70 years. I am having trouble seeing the downside.

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