Thursday, January 14, 2010

New Study Shows $18 Million In Parking Tickets Owed By Foreign Governments

180 Deadbeat Countries To Be Targets of Rep. Weiner's Bill

Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-Queens and Brooklyn) released a study showing that foreign diplomats owe New York City $18 million in parking tickets. Weiner’s legislation would ensure that this money goes directly into City coffers.

Representative Anthony Weiner (D – Brooklyn and Queens), a member of the House Judiciary Crime Subcommittee, unveiled a new study showing that 180 foreign nations owe New York City $18 million in parking tickets. Rep. Weiner announced legislation which would ensure that this outstanding debt is paid to New York City.

In 2001, Congress passed legislation to withhold foreign aid to countries in amounts equivalent to their outstanding parking fines, but the withheld money was never passed on to New York City. The current law has allowed the State Department to move withheld funds to other programs, rather than paying down the debt to NYC.

"It’s insulting to all New Yorkers that countries like Yemen, Zimbabwe and Iran owe the City millions in unpaid parking tickets,” Weiner said. “Diplomats park illegally, ignore paying their parking tickets and expect New Yorkers to pick up the tab. This needs to end.”

Among the highlights of the study:

      • Many countries that receive hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign aid—like Egypt, Colombia, Kenya and Mexico—all have at least hundreds of thousands of dollars in outstanding parking fees.

      • Egypt leads all nations in owing the City with nearly $2 million in parking tickets, followed by Kuwait, which owes nearly $1.3 million, and Nigeria, which owes $1 million.

Nations that owe the most in parking tickets:

Countries Money Owed To New York City

  1. Egypt $1,929,142
  2. Kuwait $1,266,901
  3. Nigeria $1,019,998
  4. Indonesia $692,200
  5. Brazil $608,733
  6. Morocco $582,883
  7. Pakistan $575,108
  8. Senegal $486,929
  9. Sudan $475,970
  10. Angola $438,486

Source: New York City Department of Finance

Rep. Weiner announced legislation that will require the State Department to use the withheld funds to pay New York City directly. Countries that do not receive foreign aid from the State Department will not be subject to the Weiner legislation, but nearly 85% of countries that owe New York City parking ticket fees receive aid from the U.S. Under Weiner’s legislation, a country like Egypt that owes $1.9 million in parking tickets, would have $2.1 million in foreign aid withheld by the State Department and send the entire amount to NYC.

Weiner said, “The law passed in 2001 was a step in the right direction, but my bill will ensure that the money we receive from diplomatic parking fees goes directly where it belongs—into the coffers of New York City.