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Spend parking fees differently

[By Bouwe Olij] – There is a crisis going on, money has run out, we have to make cutbacks. That is what we get to hear day in day out. It is both true and untrue. There is no denying that the economy is in a bad shape. As for no money being left, that is a more nuanced matter. We do have to make cutbacks, but question is how much and on what. An important source of income for the municipality and the districts is revenue from parking fees. If we spend this money differently, cuts may not be as painful.

For what is the case. Every year, districts receive millions of euros in revenue from parking meters and parking licenses. A large share of this money is spent on enforcement and on a compulsory contribution to the municipality for environmental policies. Still, quite a few millions are left for the districts to do things that benefit us all.

Car parks or jobs

Unfortunately, this is not possible. For revenue from parking fees may only be spent on public space and constructing car parks. Because of this requirement, it is not possible to spend these millions and millions on important issues such as education, youth, the elderly, health care, social work, culture, housing, work, anti-poverty measures, integration, the economy and so forth. And yet there is too little money available in the budgets of districts and municipality for exactly these issues.

We can solve this problem very easily if we decide to add the revenue from parking fees to the district fund. This is the fund from which districts are paid by the municipality. In so doing, we kill two birds with one stone: First, districts get more money they can spend freely. In other words, they can decide for themselves whether to keep spending the money exclusively on parking and public space, or to use it for other important issues such as employment, social work, housing or whatever.

Second, it implies that not only districts with paid parking will benefit from the revenues. Instead, all districts will share in this source of income. Of course, this will have a slight negative impact on districts that are now receiving a lot of money from parking. On the other hand, the money will be distributed more fairly across the city and a better political assessment can be made on how to spend the money.

Bouwe Olij is a candidate to lead the list of the PvdA for the new Zuid District. This article was published previously by Het Parool. Photo: Oud-West District

25 October 2009 |