I can’t claim to have any strong feelings one way or another about Austin’s attempts to collect red light camera fines, I was just struck by one aspect of this story.
Beginning sometime this summer, the city will work with state and county officials to begin withholding vehicle registration renewals from those who have an outstanding fine.
A state law allows local governments to ask the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles to flag annual renewal notices of those with outstanding fines. Clerks may then refuse to register the car when an owner takes his notice to a county tax assessor-collector’s office. Failure to properly register a vehicle carries an additional $200 fine.
Austin’s stepped-up collection effort comes three months after the American-Statesman and KVUE News jointly reported that the city was losing out on more than $800,000 in potential revenue from the red light camera program because nearly a quarter of violators who got tickets hadn’t paid their fines.
Several other cities statewide, including Arlington and Garland, have also recently begun asking officials to withhold motor vehicle registrations, but officials there said it is too soon to tell if that has prompted more offenders to pay.
Nowhere in this story was there a quote from a dedicated opponent of the city’s cameras. I’m not saying there needed to be, I’m just sort of amazed that after the big win in Houston there hasn’t been a movement in Austin and other camera-enabled cities to outlaw them via referendum. I figured their days were numbered statewide after the Houston referendum, but I’m not aware of any such action elsewhere. Have we all moved on to other things, or are there repeal referenda in the works that I haven’t heard about yet? I’m just curious.