• Can you believe this? Pittsburgh is waiting on $36 million in unpaid parking tickets

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    PITTSBURGH - Parking is hard enough to find in Pittsburgh sometimes.  Add to that frustration the idea that a handful of people who do find parking spots, don't pay for them.
             
    Target 11's Rick Earle requested and got the documents on unpaid parking tickets in the city.  He found between 2006 and now, the city is owed $36 million dollars in unpaid parking tickets.

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    Rick took those figures straight to the city. 

    "Every ticket that's outstanding we issue two letters out ot them after the ten day and 20 day mark," said Pittsburgh Parking Authority Director Dave Onorato.  "If it's not collected in 30 days, another letter is issued with repeated phone calls and we keep attempting to collect on that."

    While it sounds like a lot of money, Oronato said $21 million of it is late fees.  He said over that same time frame, the city issued three and a half million tickets and only 397 are outstanding.

    Oronato added the authority's collection rate is one of the highest in the country at nearly 90 percent, but he said they could do better if they're hands weren't tied.  The authority has no enforcement powers other than threatening to put a boot on a vehicle with more than five unpaid tickets.  He's proposed changes to strengthen collection efforts.

    "A lot of states have it where you can't get your registration unless your tickets are paid, so that would be an option going forward.  But that requires a change in state law," Oronato said.

    Earle found out the Philadelphia Parking Authority has a similar law on the books.  A driver with more than six unpaid parking tickets faces suspension of vehicle registration until all the fines are paid.
             
    Onorato said since the city installed electronic meters in 2012 and offered a pay by phone app, more people are paying and enforcement officers have written fewer tickets.

    The city also has new test meters.  They're similar to the electronic meters installed 7 years ago, but with some more consumer-friendly features.


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