The Reading Parking Authority was incorporated in 1957 by the City of Reading under the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Parking Authorities Law of1947. The first parking structure financed and erected by the Authority was the Franklin Plaza Garage in 1962. Financed by a conventional construction loan, this was to be the first in a series of parking structures commissioned by the Authority within the City of Reading. Overall, the Authority is responsible for over 6,000 off-street and 1,100 on street parking spaces.
The Parking Authority was initially established for a term of fifty (50) years. As bonds in the name of the Reading Parking Authority were issued to finance various projects, the term was extended to cover the life of the bonds (i.e., in 1988 the term was extended to the year 2008, etc.). With the issuance of the 1993 series bonds the term of the Parking Authority was extended to the year 2020, at which point after presumably having discharged itself of all debt, the Authority may be dissolved by a joint resolution of City Council and the Authority Board of Directors.
|(1) South Penn||1971/90||1050|
|Reed & Court||1977||500|
|Front and Washington||1990||740|
|Poplar & Walnut||1990||1024|
|Albert Boscov Plaza||2007||434|
Notes: (1) Expanded in 1990 * This property was transferred to BARTA for the ITF in 1999 where 100 parking spaces will be managed by the RPA and the revues will be split between the RPA and BARTA after expenses.
WHO PAYS FOR THE AUTHORITY?
The Parking Authority’s facilities, staff, equipment and operations are financed solely by income generated through daily,monthly parking fees and enforcement collections. In 1996, the Parking Authority’s total annual Debt Service payments ballooned from 1.68 to 2.85 million dollars, which resulted from the 1993 Bond Series. This was the first of the large debt service payments and they will continue through 2020.
How did we get where we are today?
Unlike other Municipal Authorities the Parking Authority’s Boards of Directors is appointed by and serve at the discretion of the Mayor. Under the new City Charter, mayoral appointees to the Board of Directors must be approved by a majority of Council. However, before the current charter provision, there were two well-publicized occasions in the Parking Authority’s history where a majority of the Board of Directors was replaced by the Mayor for having conflicting viewpoints.
During the 1990’s, the Parking Authority was utilized as a tool to facilitate and encourage development downtown. These significant investments were made in the form of:
Poplar & Walnut Parking Garage
Front & Washington Parking Garage
These projects nearly doubled the total debt of the Authority. The only facility constructed with actual transportation needs in mind was the Poplar & Walnut Street facility.
Little Known Facts
The Reed & Court Garage built in 1977 to accommodate 500 vehicles has been the “flagship” and chief income earner for the Parking Authority.
During the early to mid 1980’s the Parking Authority had an “Emergency Contingency Fund” consisting of 10% of the total value of its facilities.In 1997 the Authority renovated the Fourth & Cherry Garage this nearly depleted the Debt Service Reserve Fund (unrestricted funds created from the1993 debt service) and the amount of time the Authority will be able to pay for itself before the City must provide as guarantor of the bond.
Today, any major repair work or construction must be funded by the income the Authority generates and funding from the City of Reading.