Washington, D. C. Brings in Nearly $100 Million in Revenue from Parking Ticket Fines during FY 2011

Districts collect $92.6 Million in revenue. From parking tickets fines and fees during FY 2011. City issued 1.6 Million Parking Tickets last year, observes AAA Mid-Atlantic. D.C. is raking in nearly $31 Million more so far this Ffiscal year, records show. The final figures are breathtaking. The District of Columbia collected $92.6 million in revenue from the issuance of parking tickets during the last fiscal year, an all-time record amount, according to information recently obtained by AAA Mid-Atlantic.
It is the latest proof that parking is big business in the nations capital; and a very profitable one at that.  And so, too, is parking ticket-writing in Washington, D.C. proper.

When it comes to  the sheer number of parking tickets written each day and the overall amount of  parking ticket fines collected, the District of Columbia is the envy of cities large and small around the country, said John B. Townsend II,  AAA Mid-Atlantics  Manager of Public and Government Affairs. Its hard to grasp. Yet, if the city were to stack the amount of parking fines collected in single dollar bills, it would nearly reach to the average altitude that a commercial airliner flies above the surface of the earth.

On average, the District raked in $370,000 in parking fine revenues each business day during FY 2011,  reckons AAA Mid-Atlantic.* On top of that, the District brought in an additional $31 million to its total in parking ticket fines during the first four months of the current fiscal year, FY 2012.

At this pace, the District seems destined to eclipse last years till, says the auto club. Heres the tale of the tape: the city of Washington amassed $123.4 million in its coffers from paid parking tickets in the 16-month span from October 1, 2010 through January 31, 2012, city records show.

Number of Parking Tickets Issued and Amount of Revenue Collected FY 2010 and FY 2011

Parking Tickets  FY 2010  FY 2011 
Amount of Revenue Collected  $80,440,503  $92,574,325 
Number Issued
1.54 million
1.6 million
AAA Mid-Atlantic obtained the data through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the District of Columbia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in early February.

In a place where on-street parking is in short supply, the District nets an estimated $40 million each year in parking meter fees from its network of 17,000 metered parking spaces.  Thats about the same success rate and revenue stream as Los Angeles, which boasts twice as many metered parking spaces 40,000.

However, D.C.  raked in more than double that amount in parking ticket fines, as motorists repeatedly circle the block often in vain pursuit of a coveted parking space.
By any measuring stick, FY 2011 was a banner year for the District. The $92,574,325 it grossed in paid parking tickets last year shatters all previous records, although 30 percent of the motorists hit with parking tickets refuse to pony up each year, on average.

Compare that to the $80,440,503 windfall it reaped in parking fines in FY 2010. Put simply, the District took in $12.2 million more in parking ticket revenues than it did during the previous fiscal year, the auto club notes.

That successful track record can be credited to the band of parking enforcement foot soldiers patrolling the citys streets and enforcing the Districts parking regulations and restrictions with their high-tech hand-held electronic ticket writing devices.

Yet, it is the stupefying pace of parking ticket-writing in the city that boggles the mind. Parking ticket-issuing agencies in the District wrote more than 1.6 million parking tickets during FY 2011. In contrast, they issued 1.54 million parking tickets  a year earlier, during FY 2010.

Nearly 30 federal and city agencies are legally empowered to issue parking citations within Washingtons confines. Better watch your back and mind your parking Ps and Qs. Why? Parking enforcement officers ticketed drivers by the tens of thousands for a seemingly endless array of violations, such as parking 12 inches from the curb ($20); for expired meter infractions ($25); for parking within 10 feet of a fire hydrant ($50); parking in loading zones ($50); or for parking in a crosswalk ($50).  

In their dragnet, they also slapped parking tickets on hundreds of thousands of windshields for parking in bus stops ($100); parking along the citys snow emergency routes ($250); or parking on private property without the property owners consent ($250). They showed no mercy to parking space cheaters caught red-handed in parking spaces reserved for the handicapped ($250).

Increased parking enforcement, the District Department of Public Works (DPW) says, is its second most requested service. Those requests, the Department says, come from businesses that want more turnover at spaces near their establishments or from residents who want a space close to their homes. The DPW adds the stepped-up parking enforcement is in response to strong competition for legal curbside parking and reflects the needs of residents, businesses and the motoring public.

A person receiving a parking, minor moving, or photo enforcement ticket must respond within 60 calendar days (including weekends and holidays) of the date on the ticket, the District Government warns. However, if you do not pay within 30 calendar days, a penalty equal to your fine will be added. By the way, the day after the date on the ticket counts as day one.

(*Thats based on 260 business days during 2011, minus an average of 10 federal or District holidays).

AAA Mid-Atlantic advocates on behalf of its nearly four million members in the District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. It provides a wide range of personal insurance, travel, financial and automotive services through its 50-plus retail branches, regional operations centers, and the Internet.  For more information, please visit our web site at www.AAA.com.   
AAA Mid-Atlantic


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