Monday, July 6, 2009

Baltimore Writes Speed Camera Revenues into Budget

The city of Baltimore is so confident that their new speed camera program will be a money maker that they have written a quota of $7.1million in net revenue for the program into their proposed FY2010 budget. This is despite the fact that the program is not even permitted to be implemented until October 1, 2009 and the cameras have not even been purchased yet. It is also unlikely that traffic surveys been conducted or the number and placement of cameras "needed" in the city has been determined yet.

Montgomery County's Speed Camera program took close to a year before it began to generate net revenue. Now that the program is well established however, Montgomery County has written over $15million in net revenues into its FY10 budget and is in the process of doubling its number of cameras to meet that goal.

The Maryland state legislature recognized the conflict of interest posed by quotas by passing article 2-504 to ban ticket quotas "both formal and informal" for individual police officers. However writing proposed future revenues into city and county budgets for a program which has not even been started yet is apparently fair play, even though decisions about how the program will be run and where cameras will be placed may end up being set to meet a revenue goal rather than a safety-based goal.