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D.C. Council Moves Toward Lowering Speed Camera Fines

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This past fiscal year, the District pulled in more than $175 million from traffic cameras
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This past fiscal year, the District pulled in more than $175 million from traffic cameras

D.C.'s traffic camera program continues to spur debate as well as rake in huge sums of revenue. This past fiscal year, the city pulled in more than $175 million from traffic cameras, and while supporters, including the police chief and some safety groups, say its helped drive drown traffic-related fatalities, critics say the tickets are just too costly, with some fines at $250, even $300.

Council members Mary Cheh and Tommy Wells, who have led the effort to lower fines, say the penalties can be lowered while still serving as a deterrent for drivers.

Mayor Vincent Gray initially opposed the council members' efforts, but in a surprise move earlier this month, announced an executive order lowering the fines for many speed camera infractions.

The proposal to slash the fines by as much as half was approved by a council committee, and will now face a vote before the full body.

The council legislation, however, makes even deeper cuts to the fine structure, and unlike Gray's changes, the council effort will likely have a big impact on the city's bottom line, nearly $100 million over four years, according to the CFO — and that could hurt the bill's chances.

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