PPA Response to COVID-19 Parking Fee Refund / Credit Bill

PPA Response to COVID-19 Parking Fee Refund / Credit Bill

Harrisburg, April 30, 2020 — The Pennsylvania Parking Association seeks to be an advocate and a resource for our members, and professionals throughout the parking, transit, and mobility industry. Our Association membership consists of cities, authorities, college/universities, private operators, and various vendors. We are aware of the Fee Refund/Credit Bill currently being proposed in Harrisburg by Representative Jonathan Hershey. We oppose the bill becoming law, and request that greater consideration be given to the following issues:  

  • Most cities are not collecting “street” revenue, meters, and tickets, to permit free curbside parking during PA’s stay-at-home order.
  • Most cities allow garage monthly lease refunds on a case-by-case basis with the understanding the lessee may un-suspend the lease and again start to pay the monthly fee.
  • Currently, monthly garage leases are the only income authorities and cities have coming in to pay their bonds. This may not apply to loans that may get temporary forgiveness. Bonds are a higher covenant. If a city cannot make bond payments (usually at the end of June and December,) the city, which guaranteed the debt, will have to make good on the payment before any bond insurance applies.
  • If a parking authority or city doesn’t have funds set aside to make up this payment for the bonds, then cities will be forced to add municipal parking authorities to the city budget, which often translates into increasing taxes, raising parking fees, and other considerations.
  • Several authorities operate in cities of the 3rd Class, including Lancaster, Erie, Bethlehem, York, Reading, Allentown, Butler, and Easton. Some of these cities rely on some kind “payment in lieu of taxes” from their parking authorities. This could add even more financial strain on cities already in or trying to come out of Act 47.
  • Side-note: if a lessor decides to suspend his/her monthly parking lease, they run the risk (in cities like Lancaster and Harrisburg where parking is tight) of losing a space or set of spaces once payments resume.

While the intentions of the bill may solve some of Harrisburg’s issues, they would also have wide-reaching, negative consequences to the rest of Pennsylvania. The voting public needs to understand how the proposed law affects the stressed resources of Pennsylvania cities, towns, businesses, and taxpayers before new laws are hurried passed to alleviate short-term concerns of a minority of citizens renting parking spaces from a private parking company.

About the Pennsylvania Parking Association
Our Mission, to create an environment for parking professionals to share knowledge, enhance personal development, and network. Our Vision, to positively impact the communities we serve. For more information on Pennsylvania Parking Association: www.paparking.org

Press Contact
Mark A. Vergenes, President, PPA | 717-332-4395 | mark@mirusconsultants.com

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