Baltimore’s government is missing out on collecting hundreds of thousands of dollars in parking fines because city officials have been unable to implement a new law for more than two months.
A new law signed by Mayor Catherine Pugh was supposed to increase the fine for parking in a bus lane or in front of a bus stop from $75 to $250 beginning Sept. 1. But city officials have been unable thus far to update their paper or electronic citations to reflect the higher fine.
City Councilman Ryan Dorsey, the bill’s lead sponsor, said he’s growing increasingly frustrated by the city’s lack of enforcement of the new law. He said his intent is to dissuade drivers from slowing down the city’s public transportation systems, but he’s also vexed at the lost revenue.
To date, more than 1,400 tickets have gone out to bus lane violators bearing the old, lower fine — costing the city more than $250,000 in fines, according to city data published on the Open Baltimore website.
“It is inexcusable for the City to continue to forgo revenue, now more than a quarter million dollars, simply because we are not issuing citations in compliance with the law when we could very easily be doing so,” Dorsey said in an email to city officials.
Frank Murphy, a senior adviser in Baltimore’s transportation department, wrote in an email to Dorsey that the Mayor’s Office of Information Technology needs to “make changes to the city’s mainframe so that the higher fines can be accepted.”
That didn’t sit well with the councilman.
“This is getting to be ridiculous. At this point we’re two whole months beyond the date of implementation,” Dorsey wrote in a separate email to city officials. “What in the world is going on here? … Why can’t this administration get its act together?”
Baltimore’s finance director told Dorsey the higher fines likely wouldn’t be implemented until December, according to the councilman.