D.C. Council wants to cut speed camera fines

Numerous iterms will be considered by the council before it recesses. Photo: ABC7

New higher speed limits on two D.C. roads could jeopardize the plan to lower speed camera fines.

“I think it’s a rip off to be honest with you because every time you turn around there’s a speed camera,” says one motorist.

With complaints galore about speed cameras, the council members set out a schedule to cut the fines: $100 fines down to $75, $150 to $100 and $200 down to $150. But the city’s chief financial sent them a letter stating they cannot cut the $100 fine because that’s where the city gets most of its speed camera revenue from motorists driving 11 to 15 mph over the speed limit. It would break the budget so the bill has a yellow amendment saying the $75 fine is a “maybe.”

“The bill says the tickets will come down to $75 pending the mayor funding this,” says Tommy Wells, D.C. council member.

Mayor Vincent Gray, who has already cut some fines, is unlikely to be looking for ways to fund the council’s bill. He also raised speed limits on two major roads, meaning fewer fines there.

“This is the city’s fiscal cliff,” says John Townsend.

AAA says the mayor has outmaneuvered the council and proved to the public.

“It’s not about anything except revenue and that further undermines the public’s confidence in the program,” says Townsend.

Council members may have to wait until next fiscal year, October of 2013.

The Council is also expected to vote on a bill that would ban synthetic marijuana and bath salts, and a bill that establishes “Red Top” meters for handicapped motorists.

Councilmembers are also expected to take up legislation that would bar employers from asking about a person’s criminal record until after a job offer is made.