CHICAGO — Chicago officials said $11.5 million in city vehicle sticker debt has been forgiven in three months from a program started by Mayor Lori Lightfoot.
Nearly 11,500 motorists applied for the program which began in October and followed an amnesty program for late penalties on sticker purchases. Lightfoot has touted the debt relief one of several initiatives in her first year as mayor aimed at easing the burden on Chicago families.
City residents have to buy a sticker for each car they own. Prices vary depending on vehicle type. It’s nearly $140 for a large passenger vehicle. Violators get ticketed with steep fines.
Critics have said that the program has fallen short, as only a small fraction of the roughly 500,000 motorists with city sticker debt applied.
Lightfoot said the city’s work is far from over.
“We will continue unwinding the city’s historically regressive fines and fees system, so that it no longer holds our residents back,” she said in a statement.
Unpaid city sticker debt — which at one time could reach nearly $500 each with late fees — are the biggest source of ticket debt in the city, according to a WBEZ and ProPublica investigation.