LA spends more on parking enforcement than it collects in fines

A new USC data analysis found that the city of L.A. is spending millions of dollars more than it generates with parking fines.
HOLLYWOOD (KABC) -- Over the past five years, parking and traffic enforcement has cost the city $192 million more than it made in fines.

That's according to a data analysis by USC junior Cari Spencer. She's been looking into the city's transportation budget and revenue for weeks.

"Starting in 2017, there's this trend of it costing L.A. millions more dollars to enforce traffic and parking than it's actually bringing back in revenue," said Spencer.

The last two fiscal years saw the worst shortfall, with more than $120 million more spent than made through citations.

Colin Sweeney, director of information for L.A. Department of Transportation, confirmed the data.

"I didn't want to draw too many conclusions right away. So, I remember looking at it and being like that's very weird," said Spencer.

Though parking tickets are frustrating, officials say they aren't meant to fund the Department of Transportation.

"It's important to remember that the role of our parking enforcement and traffic control officers goes far beyond just writing tickets. They also support the quality of life and safety of our streets," Sweeney said.

But why is this spending outweighing the revenue aside from obvious loss during the pandemic?

"Going back to 2017, you'll actually see that is when the deployment begins to shift to a large number of construction and transportation projects that weren't happening prior," Sweeney said.

The Safer at Home order suspended parking citations for months and resulted in many layoffs.

But this doesn't mean there will be less tickets. In fact, more citation officers will be hired soon.

"The city council recently authorized us to hire 82 officers. So hopefully we are getting those positions filled," said Sweeney.

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