NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Charging Drivers for Handicapped Parking Passes

December 15, 2014

Want to park in a handicapped spot? It's going to cost you money -- at least in Portland, Oregon, the latest city to begin charging drivers to park in handicapped spots.

Dan Springer at Fox News reports on the new trend. Disability advocates are opposed to the measures, but they have gained support from lawmakers and citizens trying to stop residents from fraudulently using handicapped tags and overusing parking spaces. Portland City Council members say that while the free spots are supposed to be turned over from one driver to the next, drivers have taken advantage of the free spaces and overused them.

Springer writes that more than 20 states require free parking for the handicapped, and some of those states allow drivers to park in handicapped spots for weeks without moving. California is one such state without a time limit on parking. A UCLA study that analyzed parking trends in Los Angeles found that cars with handicapped tags stayed in their parking spots 70 percent longer than the cars without the tags. Springer notes that the fees could also be a large source of revenue for states -- assuming a free handicapped tag costs the state of California $100 in parking revenue, the states loses $210 million annually by offering free parking.

In Portland -- which started charging drivers in July -- the number of cards with handicapped tags has fallen by a whopping 70 percent, though disability advocates argue the drop may be due to drivers' inability to pay the fees.

Springer notes that Chicago and Baltimore also no longer offer free handicapped parking at city meters. 

Source:  Dan Springer, "Cities Ending Free Parking for Drivers with Handicapped Tags, Critics Cry Foul," Fox News, December 11, 2014.


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