Why do towns install speeding cams? Is it because robotic, inflexible, perfect enforcement of every single infraction of the speed-limit makes the streets safer? Or because they can raise $250,000 a month in fines for small town budgets?
In Chevy Chase, for example, where speeding tickets brought in about $8,000 monthly before cop cams, "We are routinely bringing in approximately a quarter-million dollars per month," Geoffrey Biddle, Chevy Chase's village manager, told his Board of Managers in February.
For a community of 2,000 with an annual budget of $4.6 million, that's a bonanza. What's more, because locals know enough to evade the cop cams, the village's new revenue mostly comes from outsiders, rather like a commuter tax.
Nor are Chevy Chase's big gains unique. Washington's dozen cop cams have taken in more than $200 million since 2001. Scottsdale's six freeway cameras took in $17 million in 2006.