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Bills to limit local traffic revenue fail to advance

Two measures designed to curb the cash flow from enforcement of local laws aimed at errant drivers have run out of gas at the General Assembly.

Senate Bill 500, sponsored by Sen. John Watkins, R-Midlothian, would have prohibited the use of local traffic laws on Interstate highways. The bill appeared to target operations of the Hopewell Sheriff’s Office, which patrols a stretch of I-295 generating nearly $2-million a year, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Watkins’ bill was defeated 10-to-4 by the House Transportation committee.

House Bill 834, offered by Del. Betsy Carr, D-Richmond, also met death in a subcommittee. It would have required certain local DUI fines be used strictly for education, split between local schools and the state Literary Fund. A House Courts subcommittee failed to report the Carr bill.

The state Auditor of Public Accounts last year reported localities are taking in $95 million a year through enforcement of local ordinances, all of the money going to local budgets without restrictions on its use.

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