03/26/2012 11:43 pm ET

D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray Wants Expanded Speed-Camera Use

WASHINGTON -- If District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray has his way, chef Geoff Tracy will be fuming even more during the city's next budget cycle.

Tracy, the owner of Chef Geoff's, raised a major fuss back in January when he was caught repeatedly by a new speed camera on Foxhall Road and hired a human sign spinner to warn motorists of the hidden camera.

Late last week, the mayor released his fiscal 2013 budget proposal and in it, plans on raising additional revenue for municipal coffers by expanding photo enforcement including retrofitted red-light cameras that are able catch motorists speeding through intersections, according to WRC-TV/NBC4.

As The Washington Post reported this weekend, beyond the new "speed on green" cameras, the mayor's plan includes "new laser-equipped cameras that could operate in tunnels. Gray is also proposing pilot enforcement programs targeting pedestrians and drivers who 'block the box.'"

D.C.'s automated traffic enforcement network, which include fixed speed cameras and red-light cameras, has been a source of annoyance for motorist for years.

D.C. was listed fifth in recent rankings for cities with speed traps and red-light cameras, according to WTOP.

While critics of speed cameras say D.C.'s aggressive use of automated traffic enforcement is just meant to increase revenue, the mayor and police officials stress that it's in the name of safety and that the cameras have prompted drivers to slow down.

Gray will testify before the D.C. Council on Tuesday about his budget proposal, which would raise $30 million in new traffic fines for the city.

D.C. Councilmember Phil Mendelson (D-At-Large), who chairs the Judiciary Committee, told WRC-TV/NBC4 that the city "should not be balancing budgets based on ticket writing. Ticket writing should be based on public safety," noting that speeding is a legitimate enforcement issue.

Photo by Flickr user Alex Barth