What Does The Parking Authority Do With All The Money From Your Parking Tickets?

If you’ve been living in Philadelphia for a long time with a car like I have, then chances are that the Philadelphia Parking Authority (PPA) is a name etched in your mind. Whether i’m downtown, in University City, North or South Philly, i’ve known PPA to have very little sympathy when it comes to issuing tickets. You better leave your parking spot or replenish your meter before time runs out, because grace periods are just a figment of your imagination when it comes to parking in Philly

But where does all of this money you pay for racking up tickets go to? This is a question I began asking myself after being issued two parking tickets within the first 5 days of February this month. In my defense, PPA did make a mistake on one of them, as they sometimes overlook meter payments and their duration when you use their “meterUP” mobile app to pay

sign above parking meter encouraging payment via the meterUP app

Before talking about what their revenue is used for, or where it goes to, let’s get some clarity on what the actual purpose of PPA is in the first place. According to Scott Petri, Executive Director of the agency, the PPA’s purpose is threefold: to ensure that people in the city get to their destination safely, enforce the streets fairly, and address the important economic concerns of Philadelphia

As for the revenue they generate, the net-revenue goes to two entities: the city treasury and education funding. In 2001, when the state took over the parking authority, lawmakers made a pledge for $25 mill of on street ticket net-revenue to go to The School District of Philadelphia. However, following this, then-mayor John Street, former governor Ed Rendell and republican legislators came to a decision that the first $25 mill in on-street net revenue would go to the city treasury. This number would be increased to upwards of $35 mill. Just last year, $38.3 mill went to the city, and $13.2 mill to the school district

Parking meter stationed in University City, Philadelphia

Part of the complication around PPA’s revenue share is the fact that the agency over the years has dealt with a number of scandals and it doesn’t have the greatest record for transparency or honesty. So this puts doubt in the eyes of especially education-funding advocates, on whether the PPA has been accounting for all the revenue it generates from tickets. In fact, a grassroots organization called Pay Up PPA was launched just this past summer as a way to hold PPA more accountable and transparent

Although $25mill is only a fraction of the school district’s $3.2 billion budget, it’s important that PPA is acting responsibly to carry out its mission and purpose. In the last year, since ousting out its former executive director for a sexual assault scandal, PPA has initiated a number of transparency and hiring reforms, and there is pressure being applied from organizations like Pay Up PPA to hold them accountable

It would be helpful to know that a significant portion of the money being made from my parking tickets is going towards something I care about, like the education system. Even though I may go out to my car only to find out I was issued a ticket because my meter expired 90 seconds prior, maybe I would feel a little less frustrated than usual


More parking tickets should mean more school books, activists tell PPA


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