The Rain Tax

While a new tax, based on rainfall, in the State of Maryland is generating a firestorm of controversy, it is also bringing significant attention to often-overlooked subjects: the effect of parking, parking lots and parking garages on the environment. The so-called “rain tax” is actually a fee assessed on residential, commercial and industrial properties in ten Maryland counties for the remediation of stormwater flowing into the ecologically sensitive Chesapeake Bay. Since the fee is calculated on the amount of surface area impervious to rainwater, there should be no doubt that the discussion of parking facilities, and their size, will take on new importance in Maryland.

The traditional means of dealing with stormwater (i.e. rain not absorbed by the ground) has been to channel it into streams and rivers. Property development creates more ground area covered by surfaces that impervious to rain such as roofs, roads, parking areas, sidewalks, patios, etc. As the amount of impervious area increases, so does the volume of polluted stormwater.

Although the new law is not scheduled to go into effect until July 1, 2013, complaints have already been made that the fees ranging from $14 to $72 per 1,000 square feet (93 sq. meters) of impervious area will roughly double the taxes paid by many non-residential property owners. Rumors about fee increases abound and there is talk about postponing the entire program to address some of the problems and uncertainties.

Environmental challenges and plans to correct them, such as the “rain tax”, simply confirm what we have been saying for years about automated parking systems (APS)…that they are much more eco-friendly compared to parking garages and parking lots. In above-grade applications, an APS can park the same number of cars with roughly half the impervious area of a conventional parking garage and ten, or more, times less impervious area than a parking lot. Below-grade applications require almost no impervious area and APS are the least expensive way to install parking underground.

Contact your representative to find out all of the environmental advantages of Skyline Parking’s line of automated parking systems.

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