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Forget all the political manoeuvring about the fiscal cliff, the real budget busters in Washington are traffic wardens.

Figures from the American Automobile Association (AAA) reveal last year 1.8 million parking tickets worth 92.5 million US dollars were issued. That is more than 71 million euros and 7.3 parking tickets per minute.

Drivers in Washington can face heavy fines for parking violations. One warden attached a 100 dollar ticket to a van which already had three others – making a total of 400 dollars.

It can cost up to 28 dollars per hour in a parking garage.

“Expensive, hard to find, and if you go for the garage, there are at least 17 to 20 dollars downtown,” lamented one driver.

John Townsend of AAA said: “It is so draconian and so spiteful, because the city knows it doesn’t have to provide parking. It doesn’t want to provide parking, because it can enjoy the fruits of millions of dollars from it.”

Parking is only free on Sundays, so during the week, motorists are battling it out for one of only 17,000 metred parking places.

euronews correspondent in Washington Stefan Grobe has a better idea.

“Visiting Washington DC is great, driving here considerably less. And parking is just a hassle. So the best thing would be to use a cab,” he said.

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