Red Light and Speed Cameras Are Quite Lucrative in D.C.

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Everyone's favorite robocops are making good money for D.C.

    Three cheers, everyone. The red light and speed cameras positioned throughout D.C. helped haul in a record high $36.4 million to city coffers during the first 11 months of fiscal year 2009 (which ran from Oct. 1, 2008, to Sept. 30 of this year). The revenue from the final month is still being tallied.

    Officials, naturally, are thrilled that the cameras are catching people in the act of maybe violating the law -- who knows for sure because the cameras are next to impossible to contest.

    Just kidding. They're just happy that the cameras are more than making up for the cost the city absorbed to install and run them.

    “The  sheer number of traffic tickets increased by a factor of two in just two years in the District, and the city is on pace to having a banner year for its camera program,” observed John B. Townsend II, AAA Mid-Atlantic's Manager of Public and Government Affairs.  “Since we don’t have the final figures from last month that means D.C. officials are still counting the final take. The program is a money maker for the District, and you don’t have to be a cynical motorist to think that.”

    In contrast, during the previous fiscal year – FY 2008, the District generated $6 million in red light camera revenue, which surpassed the revenue collected in FY 2007. That year the District collected $4.2 million in red light camera revenue, according to MPD data.

    Of course, amid all this touting of the revenue generating ability of the cameras is a decided lack of information about whether they actually make motorists safer or reduce serious accidents. But hey -- money!