What is a Parking Authority?
A parking authority is a publicly owned and managed, self funding agency integrating On and Off Street parking facilities and related services.
Typically, parking authorities manage city-owned parking operations and build parking lots and parkades in support of local objectives. Most major cities operate an integrated parking service. In Canada, there are very visible examples at the Toronto Parking Authority, the Calgary Parking Authority, and Vancouver EasyPark.
It is called an authority because that's the most common and recognizable name convention for such an Agency in North America. The term "authority" means different things in different jurisdictions; in our case, we selected the term for name recognition denoting a Special Operating Agency or "SOA".
"SOA" is the term used to denote a government (municipal or provincial) agency that handles non core service functions on a full cost recovery basis. They run "like a business".
SOA's operate at arms length from government, assisted by a Board of Advisors representing key stakeholders, and are fully or partially self supporting through sale of services to the public. Other terms used are Crown Corporations, or Authorities. They are very common in Canada, and more so in the US.