What could Ontario buy with its $1 billion in unpaid speeding tickets?

What could Ontario buy with its $1 billion in unpaid speeding tickets?

Cha-ching! (Image: Michael Gil) 

Ontario’s police forces dropped a bombshell today: unpaid speeding tickets are costing them just over a billion dollars. That’s a dollar in speeding tickets every second for 33 years. The figure, put together by the Ontario Association of Police Services Boards, is pretty staggering, and it clearly caught some of our politicians off guard. Attorney General Chris Bentley was reduced to saying, “It’s a heck of a lot of money,” while the always-charming Bill Murdoch (MPP for Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound) launched a stirring call for fewer laws in the province of Ontario. Clearly, everybody’s having a hard time wrapping their head around this, so in the spirit of public service, here are six simple ways to think of what our cities could do if road warriors coughed up the dough they owe.

1. 5,000 gold iPads
At nearly $200,000
a pop, these plated pads are an excellent way to get 64 gigabytes of 3G action in one’s hot little hands. We would insist that anyone buying such an extravagant device in such numbers give us at least 100. For research purposes, of course.

2. 13,333 William Shatner kidney stones
We’ve already covered Captain Kirk’s gross-yet-generous donation of a kidney stone, which was sold for $75,000—money Shatner promptly donated to Habitat for Humanity. Arguably, it would be cheaper, though far less hilarious, to just buy the man his own urologist.

3. Almost 900 Bugatti Veyrons
Buying a bunch of the world’s fastest cars for the streets of Ontario would probably be counterproductive. Then again, who wouldn’t want to outrun a convoy of OPP highway troopers at this car’s top speed of 425 kilometres per hour?

4. Between three and five Avatars
And we’re not talking cinema tickets or Blu-ray discs. Depending on the source, Avatar cost between $230 and $310 million, meaning that there’s enough speeding ticket money to fund at least three whole productions. That’s enough to bring Jim Cameron—preferably with Zoe Saldana—back to Ontario and launch a whole new franchise.

5. Ten private Caribbean islands
It would probably be cheaper now, but back in 2007, Ronde Island in the Caribbean was on the market for a cool $100 million. What Canadian hasn’t dreamed of being able to vacation in the tropics without having to clear customs (survivors of Oceanic Flight 815 not included)?

6. About three kilometres of subway in Toronto
Just so no mayoral candidates get any bright ideas (we’re looking at you Rocco Rossi, Rob Ford and Sarah Thomson), forcing motorists to pay their tickets won’t suddenly make subways possible. Extending the Spadina subway to York University is costing about $300 million per kilometre, so it’s not like that Eglinton crosstown subway is looking at all feasible. The whole billion is just enough to get it from the Allen to Keele.

• More than $1 billion owed in speeding fines [Toronto Star]
• Traffic offenders owe $1 billion [Toronto Sun]
• Unpaid traffic tickets in Ontario total $1B [CBC]