Under Mayor Vincent Gray's 2013 budget proposal, District officials would have the authority to implement the program, which currently operates in Wards 1 and 6, citywide. Gray has said the expansion could raise more than $3 million next year.
"We have never properly priced parking," said Ward 3 Councilwoman Mary Cheh, who chairs the council's transportation committee. "When you properly price parking, it ought to reflect the market demand, and when we reflect the market demand, then people will be able to find parking spaces."
Cheh said independent studies have shown that up to about 30 percent of downtown traffic can be blamed on drivers circling city blocks seeking open parking spaces.
With performance parking, officials monitor demand for parking spaces and adjust pricing appropriately several times annually. Cheh said the open market would set a ceiling on prices.
Along Northeast's H Street, performance parking prices are $2 per hour after 6:30 p.m., a rate that's nearly triple a space's cost for much of the day.
Ward 6 Councilman Tommy Wells said the city could take in far more revenue from the program than Gray projected -- perhaps as much as $10 million.
Gray spokesman Pedro Ribeiro said the mayor's forecast was based on figures from the District's chief financial officer.
Although John Townsend, a spokesman for AAA, acknowledged the city has a parking problem, he argued Gray wants to expand performance parking to bolster the city's treasury.
"This is not purely motivated by good governance," Townsend said. "It's about increasing the revenue stream."
He also said the program and increased ticketing wouldn't generate additional spaces.
"They can ticket us until the cows come home, but it's not doing anything to increase the parking inventory," he said.
But Wells said performance parking proponents recognize the city's limitations.
"Since we can't manufacture more parking spaces, they have to be used more wisely," Wells said.
Examiner Staff Writer Liz Farmer contributed to this report.