Chicago Balances Budget With Red Light Cameras, Parking Tickets, Parking Tax, Towing, Etc.

The Newspaper
by The Newspaper

Chicago, Illinois Mayor Richard M. Daley (D) is counting on a host of new fees and taxes on drivers to balance the city’s 2009 budget. To wit: a new contract took effect on Saturday authorizing private vendor Redflex to more than double the number of red light camera equipped intersections in Chicago to 290. The first phase of the program had already mailed 1.1 million tickets worth $110m using just 136 cameras, thanks to contract provisions that ensure a steady stream of revenue. “The Office of Emergency Management and Communications has developed and executed the industry’s most stringent performance metrics and key performance indicators,” the new contract states. “(These) include citation issuance minimum yields to equal 85 percent or greater and system uptime to equal 95 percent or greater… At a minimum, installed systems must maintain a minimum 85 percent prosecution rate.” So far, the prosecution rate has been 94 percent. Daley rewarded Redflex by approving a no-bid contract extension. Read it and weep…

The new no-bid contract increases the Australian company’s five-year share of the revenue from $13,449,000 to $32,109,090. Redflex also agreed to allow the city to keep an extra $1,016,400 each year from reduced maintenance charges and to use union labor from a number of subcontracting firms favored by Daley’s administration. Thanks in part to the new cameras, total revenue from all fines and tickets is expected to jump 16.6 percent to $293.5m. The remainder of the increase will come from encouraging meter maids to issue more parking tickets and seizing more automobiles.

“The majority of this increase is related to the expansion and enhancement of current enforcement programs,” the 2009 budget explained. “The 2009 budget also projects additional revenue from enhanced collection of fines related to vehicle impoundment.” Higher taxes on parking will boost transportation tax revenue to $161.6m. Combined with a vehicle registration sticker tax of $105.9m and parking lot fees of $5.9m, Chicago expects to earn $566.9m from drivers in 2009.

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  • Landcrusher Landcrusher on Nov 05, 2008

    Richard D, You are correct sir, bigger more intrusive government is now coming at us from both parties. The good news for the republicans is that after yesterday, it will be the democrats that get blamed for it next.

  • Andrewzela Andrewzela on Nov 05, 2008

    It doesn't really surprise me - these are such money makers. I don't run red lights, but I got nabbed by making a legal right on red without fully stopping. I don't want anyone to run red lights, but I also don't want to fund the city coffers. My neighbor bought a GPS locator that tells you where all the cameras are located.

  • Lou_BC Blows me away that the cars pictured are just 2 door vehicles. How much space do you need to fully open them?
  • Daniel J Isn't this sort of a bait and switch? I mean, many of these auto plants went to the south due to the lack of unions. I'd also be curious as how, at least in my own state, unions would work since the state is a right to work state, meaning employees can still work without being apart of the union.
  • EBFlex No they shouldn’t. It would be signing their death warrant. The UAW is steadfast in moving as much production out of this country as possible
  • Groza George The South is one of the few places in the U.S. where we still build cars. Unionizing Southern factories will speed up the move to Mexico.
  • FreedMike I'd say that question is up to the southern auto workers. If I were in their shoes, I probably wouldn't if the wages/benefits were at at some kind of parity with unionized shops. But let's be clear here: the only thing keeping those wages/benefits at par IS the threat of unionization.