Through Fines, School-Zone Speeding Cams Will Fund Safety

Jul 22, 2013

Get caught on camera speeding through a school zone, and you may find yourself with a $189 ticket in your mailbox. Those fines add up fast: The city has collected more than $3 million as of last month.

So what happens to all that money? The Seattle City Council voted Monday to direct all of it into a special fund, to pay for safety improvements near schools. That could include sidewalk repairs, better lighting and fixing curbs.

Council member Richard Conlin said it’s partly a way to reassure people who might want to challenge the cameras that they’re there for safety, not just as a moneymaker for the city.

“If we can help allay that concern by making it clear that we’re putting into a purpose that makes sense, that is related to these, that really does promote safety, hat I think may help us a lot when we get into these inevitable battles that we’ll have with the legislature, and potentially even with initiatives,” Conlin said.

Conlin said safety improvements have long gone underfunded. That’s why he supports the dedicated fund, even though as a rule he doesn’t like tying up revenue.

Mayor Mike McGinn isn’t a fan of those dedicated funds either, and his office told the Seattle Times he’d rather direct it into the city’s general fund.

The cameras are nailing speeders near four Seattle schools, and city officials are considering adding up to five more.