Friday, February 13, 2009

Fines issued to Washington D.C. and NYC Government workers and NYPD go unpaid

The FBI and U.S. Armed Forces are institutions in which following the rules is supposed to be a given.

Except when it comes to paying their parking tickets.

According to a congressional report scheduled to be released Oct. 24th 08, federal workers in the District and New York City failed to pay $176,000 in fines for 1,147 tickets issued last year to their U.S. government vehicles.

Leading the way in the District were the Army, Navy and Air Force, whose employees ignored 158 tickets for $28,000 in 2007. Most were racked up by recruiters working at the Armed Forces Recruiting Center near 13th and L streets NW.

In New York, FBI agents set the worst example, accumulating $35,000 in fines and comfortably besting the Department of State ($28,000) and the Marine Corps ($20,000) in unpaid violations.

Almost half of the citations were issued during morning and evening rushes, increasing congestion and creating safety hazards, the report concludes. Other violations included parking on sidewalks, in handicapped zones and in front of fire hydrants and bus stops. Only 6 percent were for expired meters.

The report was done by the majority staff of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure at the request of the panel's chairman, Rep. James L. Oberstar (D-Minn.) It faults "lax fleet management practices" that enable many workers to ignore fines.

Here's the link to the document.

On Page 21 the Committee recommends a searchable database of vehicles used by Government employees. We stand behind this recommendation and many others by the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and hope that NYC's government is listening. NYC is leagues away from curtailing its parking abuse problem.
At least Washington D.C. is looking into tracking technology similar to the existing ZipCar method. Bloomberg's administration has not even entertained such a logical step in the right direction.

The recommendation reads as follows:

"Establish capability to search U.S. Government-issued license plates in online ticket search engines. Many State DMVs have an online search capability where drivers can search for outstanding tickets by entering their license plate numbers. DC has such a system, but it does not recognize U.S. Government plates. DC should modify its search software to enable Government plates to be searched. Fleet managers should periodically query vehicle plate numbers in all jurisdictions where the fleet operates to assess employee compliance with local parking laws; and whether fines were paid timely and supervisor reporting requirements met."
page 21

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