WASHINGTON -- D.C.'s City Council has voted to reform the Department of Motor Vehicle's hardball tactics used to collect more than $180 million a year in parking fines and penalties.
The reforms passed by the council include the possibility that low income people facing impossible fines may perform community service.
Other reforms would end the practice of suspending driver's licenses for non-payment and extending the deadline to pay before fines double from 30 to 60 days.
Council members passed the bill ON Wednesday. It is now up to Mayor Muriel Bowser and Congress to approve the changes.
The changes are intended to reform a harsh, inflexible system that affects low-income individuals in "a disproportionately negative way," according to legislative notes attached to the bill.
Resident Phillip Cunningham applauded the changes.
"If they take my license, how am I going to go to work to make the money to pay these fines," he reasoned while speaking with WUSA9 outside the DMV's Adjudication Center at L'Enfant Plaza Thursday.
Cunningham said he is facing $700 in fines and penalties for notices that were sent to the wrong address, and he can't afford to pay.
However, the reforms may prove costly to the District. Lightening up on deadlines and penalties could reduce revenue from parking tickets by more than $32 million in the first year, according to a city financial analysis of the council bill.
Analysts estimated as many as 2,700 people might qualify for a community service option to clear away fines.