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ArlingtonArlington government has the need for speed (cameras, that is)

Arlington government has the need for speed (cameras, that is)

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Coming soon to a thoroughfare near you – Arlington aims to install speed-monitoring cameras that will spit out $50 citations to offenders.

During their brief majority in the General Assembly, Democrats in 2020 amended state law to allow localities to use electronic speed-monitoring devices in work zones and school zones. To get a ticket in the mail, one must be going more than 10 mph above the posted speed limit.

County Board have set a Jan. 22 public hearing and vote on the matter. The county manager has recommended a $50 ticket cost, but state law allows County Board members to go up to $100 if they desire.

(The county government’s Police Practices Group had recommended that fines be on a sliding scale based on ability to pay, but the county manager’s report noted pointedly that such a proposal “was not legally feasible.”)

The county manager’s staff report on the item suggests that going to electronic monitoring will aid in “reducing or eliminating the possibility of bias in enforcement,” although there has been no evidence county police have engaged in such behavior.

The estimated cost of purchasing and maneuvering 10 portable speed-monitoring set-ups throughout the county is estimated at $600,000 a year, much of it to be paid to a third-party contractor, with one additional staff position added to manage the technology.

County officials believe that increased numbers of tickets being issued will cover the cost.

Of course, what the General Assembly giveth, the General Assembly can taketh away, but it seems unlikely rescinding this measure will be a major priority of the new Republican majority in the House of Delegates, particularly with Democrats still holding onto a slim, but serviceable, majority in the state Senate.

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