Press Club

Washington Times Blasts Arlington Red Light Cameras

“There is no doubt that it’s all about the money,” the Washington Times says about Arlington’s new red light cameras.

In an editorial — who knew the Times still covered local issues? — the paper claims the combined “angle collision” rate at the four intersections where cameras are installed is a mere 0.15 incidents per month.

The Times also says that rear end collisions doubled last time Arlington installed red light cameras.

So, is it about the money? No, police say: it’s about safety, not profit.

But the month-long trial period suggests that Arlington will likely generate revenue from the program.

A total of 577 warnings were issued in the past month. If that rate remains constant while the system issues $50 citations, it will generate $346,200 over 12 months. Arlington pays $178,800 per year to the contractor that maintains the camera system. That leaves a surplus of $167,400. Of course, a significant percentage of that will be paid to the contractor as ticket processing fees (we’re guessing half).

Somehow, though, it seems unlikely that a sinister revenue-generating plot was hatched over a sum that would barely pay the salary and benefits for one additional beat officer.

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