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Herald staff | needtoknow@heraldnet.com
Published: Thursday, May 12, 2011, 12:01 a.m.

How much money cities make on traffic enforcement

You know the feeling. Red and blue lights spin in the rearview. Your heart races.

Some say cops write tickets to fatten government budgets. State law says tickets and fines must go into a city's general fund. With traffic cameras snapping photos of scofflaws, Lynnwood is issuing millions of dollars more in fines than its neighbors.

How much money do cities make through traffic enforcement?
Every city in Snohomish County pulls 1 percent to 5 percent of its budget from fines collected for traffic and parking violations. Every city except one. Lynnwood covered nearly 16 percent of its bills last year with traffic enforcement fines. Click on the graphic below to see how the cities compare: Officials see the cameras as a robust public safety program. Right now, Lynnwood is the only local government using the cameras for tickets. Monroe and others may do the same soon. Lynnwood maintains it is unfair to compare it with its local neighbors: It is more like Seattle or Puyallup. Lynnwood's camera contract is up again in November. Lynnwood uses traffic enforcement cameras to cite people who roll through red lights or speed in school zones. The cameras were used to issue more than 75 percent of infractions cited in 2010. Here is how much money Lynnwood made from traffic enforcement in 2010 (click on the graphic to see): Here's where you'll see Lynnwood's cameras:
View Lynnwood traffic enforcement cameras in a larger map

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