Washington DC

More Speed and Red Light Cameras, Fewer Buses in DC Budget Proposal

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More speed and red light cameras and fewer buses are among the proposals in D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s new budget intended to deal with a massive shortfall over the next four years.

It’s the first time in many years D.C. has faced a budget shortfall – $1.7 billion over the next four years.

One of the biggest proposals in Bowser’s plan is adding 342 of new traffic enforcement cameras to the existing 140 cameras. The new cameras are expected to bring in $578 million in added revenue over next four years

But after a car with more than $12,000 in unpaid speed camera tickets killed three people in a crash on Rock Creek Parkway recently, there are questions about enforcement.

“Do we want people to have $12,000 worth of tickets? No,” Bowser said. “Might we have been able to put a boot on their car? Possibly. Could we have impounded their car? Possibly.”

Bowser also proposed hundreds of millions of dollars in cuts to programs, including eliminating three of D.C. Circulator’s six bus routes: Dupont Circle to Rosslyn, Eastern Market to L’Enfant Plaza and Woodley Park to McPherson Square.

Bowser also wants $3 million in cuts to the violence interrupters program aimed at reducing gun violence and homicides.


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Bowser wants a 5% increase in public schools funding and $277 million for a new jail.

The mayor didn’t suggest increases on taxes or fees.

The mayor continues to push back on the D.C. Council’s plan to make Metrobus rides free in the District. Council member Charles Allen who spearheaded the free buses says he will find the money but acknowledged that program probably won’t start in July as planned.

“We’re working hard on that to make sure it’s fully funded,” he said. “I think that the reality, though, is it may not happen this summer. It may be moving more toward the fall because the CFO’s actions means that the mayor’s office is not actively working with WMATA to get this agreement in place right now.”

The Council will hold public hearings over the next two months before voting on a final budget.

"Although next year’s budget will have more money and the mayor has chosen the theme of recovery, a closer look reveals budget choices that set back 'recovery' for low- and middle-income residents," Council Chairman Phil Mendelson said in a statement.

"The Council has 56 days to fix these poor choices before its first vote on the budget," he added.

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