Price tags on 130,000 government parking spaces that were free until Oct. 30, 1979, have:
Added about $10 million to the transportation costs of federal workers here who drive to work.
Boosted car pools in cities with big government populations.
Increased Metro ridership here.
Started generating $20 million to be used this year by federal agencies to pay their "rent" to Uncle Sam, and to maintain and expand employe parking.
Federal agencies are preparing reports for the White House on the impact in dollars, traffic and pollution, of the president's locally unpopular pay parking order. A look at some of those reports shows Carter will read what he likes, and like what he reads.
Carter ordered the pay parking to force employes to conserve energy and eliminate taxpayer "subsidies" in the form of free parking spaces for government workers. Cost of new, underground slots in federal buildings here can run as high as $7,500. Carter's edict resulted in much bureaucratic bitterness, especially here where a ragged transportation system and 50,000 once-free federal spaces encourage people to drive to work.
The president's order said agencies should begin charging workers half the commercial fee in areas where comparable commercial parking cost $10 a month or more. Full fees for government workers go into effect in late 1981.
That will increase parking revenue to the government by between $35 million to $40 million a year.
Parking fees here will amount to nearly $20 million by next year.
Thousands of federal parking spaces have been exempt from the pay parking order because there are no commercial lots near them that charge at least $10 a month. the CIA here got an exemption on those grounds for Langley headquarters although CIA employes in Arlington and elsewhere do pay.
Despite the flack from civil servants here, President Carter's pay parking order has been popular in the rest of the country and on Capitol Hill, where members and staffers still park free.
Washington was especially hard hit, because of the nearly 40,000 government workers here, and the large number of costly, but free, downtown parking spaces around agencies. An example of the high-price of Washington parking comes from Defense, which surveyed 800 installations and reported only 30 could charge $10 a month or more for parking. Twenty-two of those 30 are in the metro area.
Although officials have tried to hold down parking management costs, some agencies have sprouted their own parking bureaucracies. Some seem keen on spending all the money earned from fees painting signs, ordering up elaborate (throw-away) laminated permits, and in building office staff.
Some agencies now hire temporary workers each month to process parking applications. Others have diverted personnel from accounting operations to handle cash, checks, money orders and returned checks. Some guard units are hiring more people, or diverting officers from regular security duty to prowl parking lots in search of the unauthorized.
Government brass say daily metro ridership of government workers (at 60,000 a year ago) is up substantially. And they have reports of more car pools, and some vacancies in lots that were full -- when they were free.
Many government workers and unions here continue to fight the pay-parking order. Some predict dire political consequences for Carter unless he lifts it. White House types say that isn't going to happen. The hard political facts of life are that Carter could lose the entire federal vote here and still keep his job.
While officials insist politics had nothing to do with the pay parking order, most agree that sticking it to bureaucrats never hurt any elected officials beyond the beltway.