Vincent Gray, the mayor of Washington, D.C., wants to have every inch of the Capitol’s roads covered by traffic cameras. Gray says that it is primarily about the citizens’ protection, but others feel that the proposal is about the city’s profit.
“We are encouraging people to do more bicycling, do more walking and use green space,” Gray said. “I think we need to do everything we can to protect people in the District from the negligent and irresponsible actions of others.”
When council members asked Gray how many cameras he had in mind, he responded: “Eventually, we would like to be able to cover the entire city.”
In 2010, the city collected a record $50.9 million in automated-camera revenue, and many people are convinced that this is just a ploy to increase that number. With the additional cameras, Gray expects the city to take in an extra $30 million from fines. This would make up for a $25 million deficit in the city’s current budget.
“We’ve gone overboard with this,” Councilwoman Muriel Bowser said of the mayor’s proposition. “When our residents see a $30 million expectation of fines, they become increasingly upset.”
Apart from revenue generated by cameras, the city rakes in about $93 million in parking fines and as much as $40 million from parking meters annually.
AAA has a question it wants answered: If the cameras are intended to encourage safe driving, then why has the number of tickets doubled over the past several years?