Washington, DC, spent $2.5 in coronavirus relief on hiring new parking enforcement officers.

The Associated Press (AP) examined the many ways that local and state governments used the trillions in coronavirus funding to create new hotels, ballparks, ski slopes, and other questionable uses of aid to alleviate the economic impact of the coronavirus lockdowns and pandemic.

According to the AP, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser spent $2.5 million to hire new parking enforcement officers.

Washington, DC, had also spent $8 million in tourism marketing campaigns.

D.C. sought federal aid money to hire more parking enforcement officers as the nation’s capitol lost significant parking ticket revenue during the coronavirus pandemic.

The DCist reported:

According to the D.C. Department of Motor Vehicles, the city issued 837,899 parking tickets in fiscal year 2020, down from almost 1.5 million the year prior. It also handed out 53,929 citations for moving violations, down from 91,194 the year before. As a result, possible revenue from parking tickets hit $62 million, down from $122 million the year before. Revenue from moving violations came in at $8.8 million, a decrease from the $16.5 million a year prior.

“The revenue from traffic tickets that were actually paid also decreased last year, to $166 million, down from $206 million the year prior,” the DCist added.

Prior to the pandemic, the city issued $1 billion in traffic and parking tickets from 2017 to 2019, setting a record for fines issues in each of those three years.

City Administrator Kevin Donahue said in 2021 that the city would have to return to more consistent enforcement of parking rules and moving violations

“At some point we are going to have to turn back on some of the revenue collection,” Donahue explained as they expected roughly half of a billion budget deficit in the coming years.

However, he cautioned that the increased enforcement could disparately impact the city’s working class.

Donahue continued:

“We recognize that there’s more inequality and some of that enforcement can be regressive in nature. So when we turn it on, we have to look at our policies about how we do forgiveness and how we do payment plans so that someone who has not been impacted by the pandemic should be paying their tickets — they should be paying for meters — but someone who has been [impacted], we have to probably change how we approach some of our policies and allow some forgiveness there.”

This revelation follows after News found that D.C. spent $3 million in coronavirus aid funding to make Black Lives Matter Plaza permanent.

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