3/27/2006DC Speed Cameras Target Commuters
DC is using speed cameras to impose a commuter tax that hits residents of Maryland especially hard.
Speed cameras in Washington, DC are targeting drivers from Maryland. Only one out of every five photo tickets issued last month went to a resident with a say in local District elections. The bulk of the citations, 64 percent, were directed to drivers from Maryland. The remainder went to vehicles registered in Virginia and other states.
"Maryland drivers are not targeted -- it is what it is," Chief Charles H. Ramsey told The Washington Times.
DC has for several years tried to impose a two percent income tax levy on workers who live in neighboring states. Congress blocked this "commuter tax" in 1973, but for the past thirty years, city officials have looked for new ways around the law. Last November, a federal appeals court panel considered a District government lawsuit designed to allow the tax. Judge John Roberts, now chief justice of the Supreme Court, joined in the unanimous ruling upholding the 1973 law.
Figures also show that mobile speed cameras were used primarily along major commuter routes including New York Avenue, Interstate 295 and along the border between DC and Maryland. Other cameras are set to trap Virginia commuters who must cross a limited number of bridges to enter the city. On the most popular route, the 14th Street Bridge, a red light camera lies in wait at the first intersection one comes to upon entering the city.
As of February, Washington, D.C. cameras issued 2,352,585 tickets worth $177 million -- equivalent to four tickets for every DC resident.