PASADENA (CBSLA) – A report from Crosstown, a nonprofit journalism organization based out of the USC Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism, has found that the city of Los Angeles spends more annually to enforce traffic and parking measure than it actually brings in on ticket fines.

In the last five years, the city has reportedly spent nearly $200 million more than it has earned from traffic fines.

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Up until 2017, traffic fines were a reliable source of income for the city, but in previous years those numbers took a dramatic turn. Since 2017, LA has spent over $809 million in salaries, equipment and other expenditures, while bringing in just $617 million from parking ticket fines, a difference of $192 million.

In the 2020-21 fiscal year (July 1, 2020 – June 31, 2021) Los Angeles spent more than $56.4 million than it earned and while that number is less than that of 2019-2020’s shortfall – $64.4 million – those numbers can be attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic as there was a suspension of parking regulations for the first eight months of that time.

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Colin Sweeney, Los Angeles’s Director of Information for The Department of Transportation, had this to say about the recent trend: “Over the last decade, while revenue from citations has remained within a consistent range, our parking enforcement division has also provided a record number of traffic safety control hours for citywide projects, including street repair and maintenance, the construction and expansion of Metro Transit projects, and homeless encampment clean-ups.”

Currently, the department is suffering from familiar staffing shortages to the rest of the nation, as 22% of enforcement positions remain unfilled.

Sweeney stated that the primary focus of traffic tickets isn’t to garner revenue for the city, but to protect the quality of life in Los Angeles and ensure safety on roadways.

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(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)