CHICAGO — Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s administration is touting programs designed to help people dig out from under debt from vehicle sticker fines, speeding and red light tickets and expired plates.
Between now and Dec. 31, 2023, motorists can use the “Fix It” program to get out of fines for expired plates and expired city stickers. Drivers must get their plates or stickers up to date and then contest existing tickets. That’s when they can show proof that they fixed the problem.
The separate “Clear Path Relief” program is meant to help reduce the city debt of low-income motorists who have racked up tickets for offenses like speeding, running a red and parking violations. Expired parking meter tickets are not eligible, however.
To qualify, people must have existing vehicle-related debt, be enrolled in the Utility Billing Relief program or have a household income of no greater than 300 percent of federal poverty guidelines. For example, a family of four can earn no more than $82,250, according to the city.
Drivers who pay off original fines (no penalties or interest) for eligible tickets issued within the last three years could have older debt waived.
In addition, new tickets issued within a year of enrollment in the “Clear Path Relief” program will be reduced by half.
And unpaid tickets will not have penalties added on until after Dec. 31, 2023.
To get old, non-parking meter debt waived, participants must complete their payment plan and pay their meter tickets in full or enroll them in a payment plan.
The two policies will “reduce the reliance of fees that disproportionately impact low-income communities on the City’s budget,” the mayor’s office said.
“Each year, tens of thousands of City residents are placed into greater economic hardship as a result of accumulated delinquent parking debt because they lack the resources to pay fines and fees,” Lightfoot said in a statement. “With these ongoing set of reforms, we hope to give Chicago motorists additional options to clear the slate and make payments appropriate for their income level.”
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