Chicago City Council committee votes to void tickets for exceeding 6mph speed limit

The Chicago City Council’s finance committee voted 16-15 to repeal Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s policy of issuing $35 tickets to motorists going 6 mph over the speed limit. The decision now heads to the full council for a vote on June 22.

Chicago City Council’s Finance Committee narrowly on June 21 approved a measure that would increase the threshold for speed cameras in a vote to 16 to 15.

Under the new order, the minimum threshold for speed camera tickets would increase to 10 mph over the speed limit instead of 6 mph.

If approved by the full council on June 22, the measure would reverse Mayor Lori Lightfoot ticketing policy for motorists traveling 6mph to 10mph over the speed limit. Lightfoot said the decision was made in the name of protecting residents.

The lower limit leads to $59 million in tickets for exceeding the 6-10 mph limit and $89 million in total for all speed camera violations in 2021, according to an investigation by the Illinois Policy Institute. The cameras produced more tickets than the city has inhabitants.

Over 7,000 Chicagoans have signed Illinois Policy Petition to eliminate the lower ticketing threshold and nearly 500 Chicagoans contacted their city councilor directly through Illinois Policy’s Take Action Tool within 24 hours before the vote.

Aldus. Anthony Beale, the former head of the city’s transportation committee and a long time opponent the mayor’s low-threshold policyauthor of the order.

“Most of this money comes from the people who can least afford it in black and brown communities,” Beale said. “This whole program is again built on corruption.”

Even after issuing tickets, motorists exceed the speed limit at 10 km/h, fatal accidents in Chicago increased further in 2021.

Chicago speed cameras disproportionately affected low-income communities on the south side. Two of the three highest-grossing radars are in low-income communities, grossing more than $3 million each.

The committee was originally scheduled to vote on the measure on June 16, but Aldus. Scott Wavespackwho chairs the committee, called a surprise suspension when it emerged that enough members would vote to repeal the 6mph threshold.

Lightfoot urged members to vote against Beale’s order.

“The Finance Committee is set to allow increased speeds near schools and parks throughout the city,” Lightfoot wrote in a statement. “I urge members of city council to vote no on this dangerous ordinance.”

School zone speed limits would not change under the ordinance, only the minimum threshold for ticket drivers.

In 2019, promised lightfoot to eradicate the City’s “reliance” on fines and fees.

Chicago’s revenue hunt stems from unfunded pensions. The city has more pension debt than 45 states. Returning to the 10mph threshold would bring lawmakers back to the elephant in the room: pension reform.

The full city council could vote to repeal the policy as early as June 22. Chicago residents can use the Illinois policy Take Action Tool to tell their city councilor to vote to end automated speeding tickets for driving 6 to 10 mph over the limit.

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