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December 12, 2019, 9:35 am

Traffic Fine Changes Reflect UBCM Input

Union of British Columbia Municipalities
Vancouver - The Province intends to introduce amendments to the Traffic Fine Revenue Sharing Agreement (TFRSA) consistent with recommendations made by UBCM. Changes are expected to generate additional net income for local governments, while allowing the Province to recover costs associated with new traffic enforcement programs.

Changes to the traffic ticket system, some of which have already been implemented, include operating red-light intersection safety cameras (ISC-RL) around the clock, implementing speed activated intersection safety cameras (ISC-SA), the province-wide introduction of eTicketing, and potentially creating an administrative justice tribunal.

Issues with UBCM Recommendation (August 2018) and Provincial Decsion (September 2019)

Intersection Safety Cameras – Red Light (ISC-RL) – expanding operation to 24 hours per day.
UBCM Recommended: That the Province should be able to recover clearly defined costs associated with operating the ISC-RL system. Other expenditures must be discussed with and approved in advance by UBCM.
The Province intends to recover new capital and operating costs associated with the expansion of this program through gross traffic fine revenue.

Intersection Safety Cameras – Speed Activated (ISC – SA) – upgrading 25% of ISC-RL cameras to provide for speed activation. 
UBCM Recommended: That the Province should be able to recover clearly defined costs associated with providing for speed activated cameras. Other expenditures must be discussed with and approved in advance by UBCM.
The Province intends to recover new capital and operating costs associated with the expansion of this program through gross traffic fine revenue.

Road Safety Initiative (eTicketing) – implementing province-wide. 
UBCM Recommended: That the Province should be able to recover operating costs equivalent to provincial projections, for the purpose of operating eTicketing and online payment systems. Anything beyond these costs will require additional local government consultation.
The Province intends to fund all initial implementation costs. Ongoing costs related to eTicketing (e.g. hardware replacement, thermal paper) to be paid by police agencies/local governments.

Administrative Justice Tribunal – implementation.
UBCM Recommended: That the Province should be able to allocate an amount of traffic fine revenue equivalent to the five-year average of traffic court costs towards addressing traffic offences through the traffic court and proposed administrative justice tribunal.
Outcome is unknown at this time.

Collision Reduction Program – various initiatives
UBCM did not support re-directing traffic fine revenue towards this program.
The Province does not intend to implement this program.

Traffic Fine Revenue Grant Restrictions – adding conditions
UBCM supports keeping traffic fine revenue sharing grants unconditional.
The Province does not intend to place any further restrictions on the use of traffic fine grants.
 
The provincial government has committed to only deducting its costs from new revenue realized through these changes, ensuring that local governments will not see a decrease in traffic fine revenue due to the implementation of new programs. The Province has also committed to transparently reporting costs associated with new programs. Local governments will continue to receive 100% of all net traffic fine revenue, with grants remaining unconditional and no changes to the allocation formula.

Background

Introduced in 1999 as an unconditional grant, the TFRSA was amended in 2004 to provide 100% of net provincial traffic fine revenue (violation fines minus provincial recovery costs) to local governments. While local governments over 5,000 in population receive a percentage of traffic fine revenue from the Province, local governments under 5,000 in population receive traffic fine revenue through a reduction in the Police Tax. Traffic fine revenue is not allocated based on the jurisdiction where a ticket is issued, but rather the ratio of a local government’s policing costs to aggregate local government policing costs in BC.


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