In response to proposed legislation to reduce the fines on speed cameras in D.C., Mayor Vincent Gray says, in essence, show me the money.
Yesterday, Councilmembers Mary Cheh, Tommy Wells and Marion Barry introduced a bill to reduce the fines from automated enforcement devices to $50 or less. There are some exceptions. Red light runners and speeders going 20 mph or more over the limit would not be privy to the reduced fine.
But Gray says to gain his support, someone would have to demonstrate how the changes would be paid for. That led some reporters to question whether the camera program is more about revenue than about public safety.
"No it doesn't. It means that we have a balanced budget at this stage, and we'll have to retain a balanced budget," Gray explained. "...when it comes to that, like any other measure, somebody will have to demonstrate how the budget will continue to be balanced."
Since speed cameras arrived in the District, traffic deaths have declined 80 percent. The fines have added at least $85 million to the D.C. Treasury in the last year.