Mayor Gray Eyes Performance Parking Funds to Salvage Metro Budget Crisis – Wells Prepares Counter Move to Keep Capitol Hill Funds for Ward 6

Mayor Gray Eyes Performance Parking Funds to Salvage Metro Budget Crisis -Wells Prepares Counter Move to Keep Capitol Hill Funds for Ward 6

by Larry Janezich

For the past several years, Capitol Hill has received money from the Performance Parking Transportation Fund, which collects parking fees from specially designated areas and uses that money for non-automotive transportation projects in the community.

The PPF was originally instituted in 2008 to manage curbside parking around National Ballpark.  The concept involves varying the parking rate according to demand and is marked by the singular large parking kiosks, one on each side of the block.  Any monies accruing to the program in excess of the level which would have accrued had the “stick” meters remained in place go back to the community in the form of non-automotive transportation projects.

Examples of PPF projects on Capitol Hill include the Big Belly Solar Powered Trash Compactors, ornate metal benches, Capitol Hill Historic Disc signs, and ornate bike racks for Barracks Row, Pennsylvania Avenue and Southwest DC

According to ANC6B Commissioner Brian Pate, there is currently $3.5 million in the fund in the city’s Performance Parking Fund.

The cash resource has now caught the eye of Mayor Gray, according Charles Allen, chief of staff for Tommy Wells who attended last night’s ANC 6B Transportation Committee.   A move to redirect PPF funds to other purposes would be in keeping with Gray’s decision last year to use the PPF money to help balance the budget.  Now Gray is looking again to the Performance Parking Program as a source of income.   For the new Fiscal Year beginning October 1, Gray’s budget proposes sweeping up all of the unobligated funds in the PPF and similar accounts and using it to subsidize WAMATA.  As many readers may already be aware, the federal government has proposed dramatic cuts to its funding of Metro rail, despite the fact that many of its employees rely upon it in order to commute to work.

Gray has also proposed extending the PPF throughout the city and using those funds as well as future funds from the existing programs on Capitol Hill near the Ballpark, on Barracks Row, and on H Street to subsidize WAMATA, in effect changing what was once a ward-by-ward funding process into a general city revenue to fund public transportation.

There are four Capitol Hill non-automotive projects in the pipeline:  the information kiosk at Eastern Market Metro Plaza, landscaping for the Plaza, a CHAW signage project, and new sidewalks on the east side of Garfield Park.  These would not be affected, but funds accruing to the project in the future would go to WAMATA under Gray’s proposal.

On Thursday, Councilmember Wells will attempt to grandfather the Performance Parking Funds for the National Ballpark, Capitol Hill, and H Street, NE, thus preserving those funds for community use alone.  The transportation budget will come up in Councilmember Mary Cheh’s Committee on the Environment, Public Works, and Transportation, which is comprised of Cheh, and Councilmembers Wells, Alexander, Bowser, and Graham.  Wells reportedly has the support of Cheh and Graham for his budget amendment.  The proposal will then have to be passed by the Committee of the Whole and the full Council.


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7 responses to “Mayor Gray Eyes Performance Parking Funds to Salvage Metro Budget Crisis – Wells Prepares Counter Move to Keep Capitol Hill Funds for Ward 6

  1. Kathleen

    Ok, so I’m just going to sit back and wait for all the GGW lurkers to comment and tear into Tommy Wells. We poor neighborhood sops have been denounced and mislabeled “nimbys” for daring to believe our neighborhood deserves a decent building.
    But what can be more “nimby” than this move by Wells? Gray can hardly be blamed–and should probably be supported–for seeking all funding streams to support regional public transportation. Here Wells just looks to be protecting his little pot of money.
    How about it GGWers… Do you have the courage of your convictions? Or is new urbanism just a label for corporate boosterism, and all that transportation lingo an environmental fig leaf to disguise your real purposes?

    • oboe

      I think you may want to look up the meaning of NIMBY.

      • Kathleen

        thanks oboe, i’m pretty sure it works ;)… elevating parochial interests over the public good.
        hmmm…. crickets from GGW.
        i’m shocked.

  2. 13th Street

    What’s new out of the Gray admin… instead of reigning in costs… let’s just turn to ward 6 and georgetown to subsidize the entire city.

  3. Kathleen

    Actually, Gray has done a tremendous amount of cutting. It’s been brutal. And this is not about spending, this is about WAMATA losing a lot of money from the federal government.
    You know, sometimes these bumper stickers don’t actually work or apply.

    • No, not really. The WMATA subsidy requirements are expected to grow substantially in the next few years as the Silver line comes online. If the full thing is build out, that’s 23 new miles of track, about a 20% increase to the size of the system. This isn’t about them losing money from the feds, this merely exacerbates the same systemic issues WMATA has faced (lack of a dedicated funding stream for operations) since inception.

      Parking revenue makes sense to help fund this obligation DC has. Parking revenue also makes sense for funding local improvements. They are not mutually exclusive concepts – though they are mutually exclusive dollars.