Traffic cameras could help wipe out city’s projected deficit


FRAN SPIELMAN
Chicago Sun-Times
March 18, 2009

Chicago could rake in “at least $200 million” a year — and wipe out the entire projected deficit for 2009 — by using its vast network of redlight and surveillance cameras to hunt down uninsured motorists, aldermen were told today.

[efoods]The system pitched to the City Council’s Transportation Committee by Michigan-based InsureNet would work only if insurance companies were somehow compelled to report the names and license plates of insured motorists. That’s already happening daily in 13 states, but not here.

The data would be entered into the National Law Enforcement Telecommunications System (NLETS), the information-sharing network that links federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.

When a camera spots an uninsured vehicle driving on Chicago streets, a citation would automatically be generated and sent to the registered owner.

Illinois’ mandatory insurance law carries a $500 fine. If Chicago levied a $300 fine and used its home-rule power to keep the money, the annual take would top $100 million. A $500 city fine would generate $357 million.

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