Letter to the Editor: Use speed camera money to pay for water tunnels

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Some question whether speed cameras are set up to entrap drivers. (file photo)

Two seemingly unrelated items in the Jan. 17 issue caught my eye.

A story on page one revealed that D.C. water bills are likely to rise to pay for the $2.6 billion water storage tunnels. According to the article, the surcharge on bills is assessed based on a formula relating to impermeable surfaces. However, the District government does not pay its share of the fees for its streets and alleys even though those surfaces are impermeable.

The second item, a letter to the editor, observed that the $100 million paid in fines from speed cameras simply go into undefined accounts of the District government. Why not direct that those fines, or some portion of them, be used to reduce the cost D.C. water users pay to build the new storage tunnels?

There is a justifiable nexus between the two – offenders’ use of the “impermeable” road surfaces while driving. Moreover, the burden of paying for the tunnels falls exclusively on D.C. residents and rate payers.  Motorists from outside the District benefit from our roads and our water; this would at least spread the cost to others who benefit.  And, it would be a salve for those who believe the cameras are nothing more than a crude revenue raiser.

Edward B. Cohen, Barnaby Woods