County Executive's Plan for More Speed Cameras Angers Residents
posted 03/17/09 4:29 pm
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ROCKVILLE, Md. - Frustration is growing in Montgomery County (web | news) over a plan to nearly double the number of speed cameras sending out automatic tickets to local drivers.
The county expects to haul in more than $20 million in the next fiscal year from speed cameras, but now many are wondering if they will be put up to keep citizens safe or to keep county coffers full.
County Executive Ike Leggett's comments on Monday added fuel to the fire for many cynics that the cameras are simply revenue-raising machines. Talkback:
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When Leggett was asked if the cameras were merely a money-maker for the cash-strapped county he laughed, "Oh no, we wouldn't do that!"
Montgomery residents didn't get the joke. "We have enough speed cameras already! We don't need anymore," said Samuel Ka, a Silver Spring resident. "He's taking it so lightly! This is a serious issue!"
"We are in a serious financial situation right now. No official -- government, city, local, state, federal or otherwise [should] be laughing at anything," said Toni Arthur, a Rockville resident.
"Is this about revenue or is this about safety? Ha, Ha, Ha -- this is no joke," said Lon Anderson of AAA Mid-Atlantic.
Leggett, who wants to nearly double the number of cameras in the county from 36 to 66, noted the cameras change driving behaviors and keep people safe -- especially in school zones. Some residents agree.
"I've actually received a couple tickets going too fast in one of those areas. Truthfully, it has hurt a little bit, but it has also slowed me down some," said John Hoover, a Gaithersburg resident.
Still, skeptics insist it's all about the cash. "I'm sure there's some financial motivation to some of it," said one county resident.
On Tuesday, a spokesman for the county executive said Leggett's joking aside, the camera program is worthwhile even if the county didn't get a penny out of it. He says the average speed has dropped in places where cameras have been added.