Parking meter rate hike in Philadelphia could mean more funds for city schools

| April 7, 2014

Very soon, drivers in Philadelphia may have to shell out more money for parking. The Philadelphia Parking Authority (PPA) is planning to increase existing parking meter rates in order to generate extra revenue for the cash-starved district.

The PPA’s proposal, if approved by the city council, will take the parking meter rates up by $0.50 an hour. The increased rates will be applicable only in areas outside center city and University City and may vary in different neighborhoods. The estimated $1 million of additional revenue generated through this hike will be used to improve public education.

Last year’s budget revealed that the city’s revenue had dropped by an estimated $4 million as a large number of people were complying with parking regulations, resulting in lesser parking violations. As PPA executive director, Vince Fennerty, explains, “Over the last several years there has been more compliance with parking regulations in Philadelphia. More people are paying at kiosks. More people are parking legally, not parking at hydrants, or double parking and parking at no-stopping zones. So, naturally more compliance means fewer tickets.”

Philadelphia Parking Authority is planning to raise parking meter rates by 50 cents.

Parking meter rates soon to go up by another $0.50 per hour. Image by Michael Hicks

PPA revised its parking management fees structure and regulations last year to increase parking availability. “This is a review of all of our parking management fees and structures to determine if they’re still appropriate at the current rate and doing what we hope they do [which is] to increase parking in the city,” said Richard Dickson, PPA deputy executive director.

In 2009 too, city officials increased the parking meter rate, this time to keep roads clear and provide more space for public transport to pass. The rates were doubled from $1 to $2 an hour in hopes that they would spur the use of parking lots and garages if people intended to park their cars for more than the stipulated time limit.

PPA blamed for wasting parking revenue in the past

The PPA has over 7000 metered spots around Philadelphia and meters in downtown area bring the city $2 per hour in revenues.

The PPA’s profit-sharing arrangement with city’s school district came under fire in 2007, when a shocking revelation about misuse of funds by the PPA surfaced. The authority’s questionable hiring practices and squandering of funds irked many parents, who came forward to fight for their children’s rights to a quality education.

The authority landed in hot water yet again as another report suggested that the schools were deprived of promised funds, despite the PPA’s revenues climbing up. The Notebook reports that the “Parking Authority revenues are on the rise, but money sent to the School District has been plummeting—from $14 million in FY2012 to a projected $9.9 million this year (FY2013), a loss of nearly one-third.” (For its part, the Philadelphia Parking Authority maintains that a major part of its revenue does go to the schools.)

While raising meter rates and other fees are one way to swell revenue, there are many other suggestions for fulfilling the city’s monetary needs. By improving parking management – or where that seems impossible, selling municipal parking lots – the authority can generate money without burdening the taxpayers.

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Category: Education, Parking, Parking management

About the Author ()

Shabdita is a content writer for SmartSign. A graduate from the Indian Institute of Mass Communication, New Delhi, Shabdita began her writing career with the Hindustan Times and contributed to the newspaper sporadically for over five years. When not struggling with people mispronouncing her name, she spends her time reading about historical monuments and daydreams about making a career as an archaeologist.

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