Sunday, March 28, 2010

AP: Tight for cash, governments raise traffic fees

Link
LOS ANGELES -- Shomari Jennings was willing to pay the $70 ticket he received for driving without a seatbelt, but not the slew of tacked-on fees and penalties that ballooned the cost more than tenfold.

Every $10 of his base fine triggered a $26 "penalty assessment" for courthouse construction, a DNA identification program, emergency medical services and other programs. Other fees ranged from $1 to $35.

"It's the new tax," Jennings, 30, complained while waiting in traffic court to contest a staggering bill compounded by a $500 fine for missing a court date.

And motorists can only expect more of the same as cash-strapped cities and states consider measures ranging from expansion of red-light camera systems to charging drivers for cleanup after accidents.