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DC Plans Another Massive Camera Expansion
New $12.2 million photo enforcement contract set to boost the $136 million the District has already generated.

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The District of Columbia plans to double the number of fixed speed cameras and boost the total number of red light cameras in the city to 50 by July. The additional five speed and eleven red light cameras promise significant financial benefit according to a copy of the city's contract with vendor ACS obtained by the Washington Times. It states, "As an enforcement byproduct, the programs have proved to be financially self-sustaining by bringing in revenue ... that far exceeds what [the District] has paid out to the contractor."

As of April, the District had issued 1,851,066 photo tickets worth $39,209,400 in revenue from red light cameras and an estimated $97 million from speed cameras for a total of $136 million since the program began in 1999. The city has a population of 560,000.

The planned 28 percent increase in the number of red light cameras would likely mean an extra 3400 tickets issued every month -- 12,365 were issued in April -- boosting monthly revenue to $1.1 million. Speed cameras generate an estimated $2.5 million in monthly revenue currently. The four fixed speed cameras added in March generated 51,000 tickets averaging $81 each.

The contract also includes a bonus for each batch of additional violations that the contractor ACS is able to deliver with its new systems. The abandonment of the flat fee arrangement contradicts earlier assertions by Police Chief Charles Ramsey.

"Some residents criticized that [per ticket] fee arrangement, suggesting it provided an incentive to issue more tickets," Ramsey wrote in January 2003. "To maintain public trust in the program, the city renegotiated the contract in 2002 to provide a flat monthly fee to the vendor."

Article Excerpt:
The pay plan provides ACS a fixed monthly fee of $651,735, but it includes extra money for the company if the number of citations it issues exceeds 53,750 per month. ACS can earn an extra $19,500 to $23,000 for every group of 2,500 citations above the threshold.
Source: Traffic camera system will expand (Washington Times, 5/25/2005)

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