Tucson may lower parking fines - Tucson News Now

Tucson may lower parking fines

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Parking fines in Tucson are some of the highest in the nation.

"They're an embarrassment," says Tucson city council member Steve Kozachik.

An expired parking meter in Tucson costs $62. In Salt Lake City it's $15.

Parking in a red zone in Tucson is $188. In Phoenix it's $86. Los Angeles $88.

Parking in a handicapped zone in Tucson is an extreme no-no costing $562.

Doing the same in Boston is $100.

Next week, Tucson's Parkwise, which writes most of the tickets, will begin the process of analyzing where cuts can be made and ticket prices lowered.

"We don't want to be known as the highest in Arizona or in the country," says Parkwise Director Donavan Durband.

The new, lower rates, if that's what happens, is part of an image makeover going on in Tucson right now in an effort to be more business friendly.

"We are driving people away from the one location in this city which is an economic driver," says Kozachik. "And that's the downtown corridor."

Tucson's tickets are some of the highest because it charges a surcharge and court fee. Most cities don't add the $37.50 court fee, part of which goes to courts and some to the city's general fund.

Tucson also imposes a $70 late fee, which is less than Scottsdale at $118.95.

Fees, fines and surcharges vary which makes comparisons more difficult.

But it's still agreed getting a parking citation in Tucson hurts more than in many other cities.

"If you compare ours rate for rate, jurisdiction for jurisdiction, ours are far and away higher than others," Kozachik says.

Still Tucson doesn't want to lower the fines too much. There needs to be an adequate punishment for violating the law and the city needs to generate money for its general fund. There's also expenses.

But the concern is, excessive fees keep people from returning downtown.

"We want people to come downtown over and over," Kozachik says. "They generate sales taxes."

Durband says he's not sure where the dollar figures will end up but he's fairly confident the fines will be lowered.

He says people bend his ear about it all the time.

"I hear it every day," he says. "People unhappy with the ticket they got."

And he says it's about both the ticket and the price.

"People say, yeah, I did this, but the fine is too high," he says.

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