Tuesday, March 15, 2011

PG County Writes Speed Cameras into Budget

Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker (D) has written a net $4.4million in speed camera revenues into the county's FY2012 budget, according to an article in the Examiner

While many municipalities in the county jumped onto speed cameras immediately after they were authorized, Prince George's County itself was slower at implementing a county-run program.  PG County originally had a plan to quickly deploy 50 fixed location speed cameras, but scaled it back after former county executive Jack Johnson called speed cameras "a Tax" , but later also stated that "he could "not justify" the 50-site plan for that small a financial return", according to a story in the Washington Post.  The county officials at that time announced that they would opt for a smaller program using on mobile cameras instead.

According to documents obtained by StopBigBrotherMD.org, PG county officials had raised the ire of some local governments by refusing to authorize some cities (including Bowie and College Park) to use speed camera at some sites on county roads because county officials at the time wanted to reserve the right to deploy county-run speed cameras at those sites, thereby collecting the revenue for the county rather than the cities.  The state legislature resolved the matter in 2010 by passing legislation which essentially allowed municipalities to deploy cameras on PG County roads without permission from the county.   StopBigBrotherMD.org sent PG County officials a Maryland Public Information Act request regarding requests to use speed cameras on county roads in March 2010 (a full year ago).  But despite many attempts by us to follow up by email, mail, and certified mail the County failed to respond, a blatant violation of the Maryland Public Information Act, proving that PG county really does have something to hide. OF COURSE the new administration could choose to demonstrate that they are DIFFERENT from the prior administration by instructing county officials to FINALLY respond to StopBigBrotherMD.org's MPIA request, rather than continuing to break the law!