- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The District collected $80.4 million from parking tickets in fiscal 2010 and is on pace to break that mark this year, according to AAA Mid-Atlantic.

The group reports that the District had collected $50.1 million as of May, according to information gathered through a Freedom of Information Act request in April.

The agency said the $80.4 million equals roughly $1.5 million a week, $450 a minute or $8 a second.

“More cities, including the District, have increased or plan to increase parking fees and meter rates to balance their budgets, and it has created a backlash from residents, motorists, and business owners, who see such hikes as another onerous tax,” said John B. Townsend II, AAA Mid-Atlantic’s manager of public and government affairs.

The group reports San Francisco collected $88 million for fiscal 2010 and that New York City reportedly collected $624 million in fiscal 2008.

Those fined for parking violation have a less-than-50-percent chance of getting their tickets dismissed.

AAA found D.C. Department of Motor Vehicles hearing officers dismissed roughly 47 percent of the 89,068 parking tickets submitted for appeal adjudicated in the first half of fiscal 2011, compared with 43 percent the previous year.

Agency officials could not be reached for comment.

The District has also increased its residential parking-permit fee from $15 to $25. And last year meters were made operational on Saturdays and rates were increase to as much as $2 an hour.

The city has 17,000 parking meters, 52 red-light camera locations, 10 fixed-speed cameras and about six dozen speed-enforcement zones, which also are a source of revenue.

Among the complaints about parking are that tickets can cost as much as $100 for having a vehicle in a rush-hour zone and that meters are often broken — leaving too few spaces for commuters.