D.C. Councilman Urges Higher Parking Permit Fees

Generally speaking, elected officials don't campaign for higher fees. However, in this op-ed, D.C. Councilman Tommy Wells draws a connections between higher residential parking fees, improved public transit, and better access to street paking.
May 27, 2011, 10am PDT | Irvin Dawid
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Wells acknowledges the shortage of on-street parking spaces in many neighborhoods: "In many neighborhoods, there is not enough parking for every household to use even one space on the street." He proposes higher fees as a win-win strategy for dealing with the shortage.

"D.C. residential parking permits generally cost $15 each for an unlimited number of vehicles, and the mayor's budget would increase that to $25. My proposal would charge each household $35 for a first sticker...., charge an only slightly higher fee of $50 for the second," and costs would then double to $100 for additional ones.

Councilman Wells proposes to direct the increased revenue to public transit, more traffic control officers, and other improvements. He explains how the higher fee would discourage households with multiple vehicles to cut back or find alternative parking places.

"Without this parking fee increase, the mayor's proposed budget would require service cuts at Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. That means the 37 percent of D.C. households that do not own a car and probably depend on Metro for their basic transportation would lose a city service, while those who own cars would continue receiving a tangible city benefit for only a nominal fee."

Thanks to Ann Mesnikoff

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Published on Friday, May 20, 2011 in The Washington Post - Opinions
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