Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Baltimore Earns Over $19million From Speed Cameras

The Baltimore Sun reports that Baltimore City's Speed Camera Program raked in $19.2million in speed camera fines in the past Fiscal Year, a $2.5million increase over last year and $4million more than the city had predicted.

The city had originally budgeted to bring in $15million from the city's 83 speed cameras.  According to the Sun article, the amount of revenue to budget coming from speed camera, and how it would be allocated, had apparently been the topic of some debate, due to the fact that the revenue projections depended on hundreds of thousands of traffic violations which had not in fact taken place yet:
Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young proposed an alternative spending plan that assumed $3.5 million more in funding from the cameras than the mayor's did. Young touted his plan as a way to keep recreation centers and fire companies from closing.
Rawlings-Blake, at the time, criticized Young's proposal as irresponsible. She said Montgomery County's experience with speed cameras shows that drivers stop speeding near cameras and that revenue therefore declines.
In a June letter to the council, Rawlings-Blake warned that "painful midyear budget cuts" could be necessary if Young's plan were approved and the increased speed camera revenue didn't come through.
Read Complete Article on the Baltimore Sun
$19.2million would represent approximately 480,000 citations.  The speed camera contractor (Xerox Corp, formerly ACS State and Local Solutions) receives a percentage cut of each ticket.

Of course as everyone knows speed cameras are about safety and not revenue.  Baltimore city designated vast new school zones when it began it's 'school zone' speed camera program, many of which are in locations that were never considered or marked as school zones previously... "for the children".  Their program has been so highly effective that it is even able to issue tickets to motorists who have been dead for years and to invisible cars.  The at least three separate instances where the city erroneously issued thousands of tickets from cameras configured to the wrong speed limit in 2012 and in 2010, had practically nothing to do with a financial incentive on the part of the city and their contractor to issue more citations.... we are very nearly almost sure of that.