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Efforts to repeal North Dakota parking meter ban fall short

A parking meter (file photo)

BISMARCK — Efforts to repeal North Dakota's ban on parking meters appeared to fizzle out at the state Legislature in recent days.

The House passed the Department of Transportation budget bill in a 53-40 vote Wednesday, April 19, without a previously included provision allowing local voters to approve their city's use of parking meters.

Lawmakers pointed out a standalone parking meter bill failed overwhelmingly in the House just last week. One legislator called them an "indirect tax."

Sen. Gary Lee, R-Casselton, who chaired the conference committee on the DOT budget bill, said the parking meter provision would have been "problematic" for the overall bill.

The parking meter ban was put in place through an initiated measure in 1949, but the Legislature repealed it two years later. Voters reversed that decision in 1952, according to a legislative memo.

Fargo Mayor Tim Mahoney supported repealing the parking meter ban in previous written testimony submitted to lawmakers, arguing the devices would help boost business in the city's downtown.

In a statement, Gov. Doug Burgum said he was "disappointed that we've missed an overdue opportunity to restore a small, missing piece of local control to political subdivisions and that we'll continue to be the only state in the nation denying cities a tool that helps support locally owned retailers and boosts economic activity in core business districts."

John Hageman

John Hageman covers North Dakota politics from the Forum News Service bureau in Bismarck. He attended the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities, where he studied journalism and political science, and he previously worked at the Grand Forks Herald and Bemidji Pioneer.  

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