Transportation Policy

Virginia Speeding Fines Update

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A judge has thrown out Virginia's odious new speeding fines on equal protection grounds—the fines only apply to motorists with Virginia license plates, not motorists from other states passing through or visiting. The fines, you may remember, range from $1,000 to $3,000, and can be applied for as minor an infraction as an improper signal, or driving 15 mph over the speed limit.

Typically, House of Delegates Speaker William Howell and Gov. Tim Kaine have responded to the ruling and to mounting public criticism by promising to address the fines in the next legislative session. Unfortunately, both have said they don't plan to revoke the fines or to make them more reasonable, only to apply them to all drivers, not just Virginians. Meaning they plan to address the public outrage by applying the fines to more people, not fewer.

Also on topic, Tim Carney explained in the D.C. Examiner this week the role private developers have played in pushing the fines into law.

Meanwhile, despite the backlash, the man most responsible for the fines and who probably stands to benefit from them more than any other individual—Del. David Albo—has no opponent in the November election.

My prediction: Supporters of the measure will use the Minneapolis bridge tragedy to explain why the fines are needed to shore up Virginia's infrastructure. The state announced just this morning that 400 of its bridges aren't up to snuff.