Prince George's County speed cameras are bringing in twice the amount of revenue than officials had projected.
The cameras will earn the county $8 million to $9 million from traffic citations in fiscal 2012, double the $4.3 million the county had expected, according to Tom Himler, the county's deputy chief administrative officer for budget, finance and administration.
Police had mailed 260,092 citations from the program's start in September through April, according to Maj. Robert Liberati, head of the county police's Forensic Services Division.
The cameras are expected to gross roughly $28 million in fiscal 2013 -- $16.8 million of which will go to county police and fire departments -- which is the first year the county's fledgling program will be fully implemented.
Prince George's receives 63 percent of the money from citations, some of which is used to fund the program, according to Liberati. The remaining 37 percent goes to the camera's operator, Lanham-based Optotraffic.
The higher-than-expected revenue from speed cameras gives credence to skepticism that the program is designed to earn money, not provide safer roads, said AAA Mid-Atlantic spokesman Lon Anderson.
A recent poll conducted for WTOP found that 64 percent of drivers in the Washington region agree -- speed cameras are in place to earn cash for local governments.
One-third of the poll's respondents said the camera's primary function is creating safer roads.
"Skepticism about programs in Montgomery County and D.C. don't help the case in Prince George's County," Anderson said. "That doesn't mean Prince George's is running a bad program."
Liberati said cameras are being used in areas where they're needed the most for safety. The 46 cameras have been placed in more than 100 locations at the request of schools and neighborhoods, based on police department traffic studies, and to raise awareness on roads where fatal accidents have recently occurred, he said.
"We're looking at if we've accomplished the mission, and that is has the amount of speeders dropped," Liberati said.
County police are on track to add another 26 mobile speed cameras over the next four months, according to Liberati. By October, 72 cameras will be up across Prince George's.