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Speed camera revenue doubles in District

A traffic camera. (ABC7)

WASHINGTON (ABC7) -- 2015 was A big year in DC for speed camera revenue. The number of people receiving fines in the District nearly doubled from 2014.

Over last few years, drivers in the District were getting a break when it came to speed camera tickets. But, not anymore.

"I'm upset because I'm spending $800, man. It's crazy," yelled Edward Valentine.

7 ON YOUR SIDE caught Valentine as he was leaving the DC DMV. The Oxon Hill resident, who works in the District, had just paid off some speed camera tickets.

"I had to sacrifice a bill that will have to wait until next month, if I'm not put outdoors, first," added Valentine.

The $800 Valentine paid makes up a fraction of the District's rapidly growing speed camera revenue. At $84 million, documents obtained by the I-Team show speed camera fines nearly doubled in 2015 from the previous year. But looking back to 2012, we see huge swings in revenue. But, why?

Speed Camera Revenue Amount

2015 $84 million

2014 $43 million

2013 $55 million

2012 $125 million

(Source: DC Dept. of Motor Vehicles)

"Certain cameras were out or inoperable," explained Metropolitan Police Department spokesperson Dustin Sternbeck.

MPD operates and maintains the District's speed cameras. Sternback says over the past few years, many were just broken.

"Now all the cameras are up and working appropriately. So, we should have 153 cameras across the district working at this time," added Sternbeck.

Assuming 2015 was an average year in terms of tickets issued. The broken cameras cost DC at least $75 million in lost revenue. But MPD says it's not about the money.

"It's the safety," stated Sternbeck. "If we had zero dollars coming in, that is our goal."

"Whenever you lose $75 million that is significant, by definition. That would account for a lot of needs that the city has," said DC Councilmember Mary Cheh.

Cheh sits on the committee that oversees MPD. When speed camera revenue first tanked due to broken cameras, Cheh says she didn't feel the Police Department adequately explained how maintenance is done or even how the cameras broke.

"Which I think is a fairly pathetic state of affairs," stated Cheh.

Now, she wants this explained to make sure it doesn't happen again.

"I'm glad you got this information because it uncovers something that we have to investigate," concluded Cheh.

Below you will find revenue totals for every speed camera in the District over the last four years.

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