Salt Lake City officials want the state to give them the power to establish a parking authority enabling them to use the profits from downtown parking projects to pay for building the structures.

Under an amendment to the state Municipal Improvement District Act, which Mayor Palmer DePaulis hopes to have considered at a Sept. 14 special legislative session, the city would be able to use revenues generated from parking structure fees to pay off construction bonds for the facilities.The improvement district act requires that bonds for projects be paid only by revenue raised by taxing businesses and other entities benefiting from the projects. The amendment would relieve some of the burden on them, said Salt Lake City Redevelopment Executive Director Michael Chitwood.

The parking authority is seen as a tool to "actually move forward with new development in the downtown," Chitwood said.

Additionally, a parking authority could assist in fulfilling recommendations for a comprehensive downtown parking plan made by the Regional/Urban Design Assistance Team, a group of planners who studied the city's beleaguered downtown area in June, Chitwood said.

Currently, there are four downtown developments in various proposal stages, including a Block 57 office tower and another office building on the site of the old Centre Theatre at Third South and State streets, that would require additional covered parking space in the downtown area.

Chitwood touted the parking authority as "a mechanism to support new development" without taxing city residents.

"The bottom line is if a parking structure does not operate at a profit, then the beneficiary would be required to pick up the deficit. This is truly a public/private partnership," he said.