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The nation’s foremost motorist group says the city is seeing more dollar signs from out-of-District drivers with no voice at the D.C. ballot box.

Traffic cameras generated a record $80.4 million for the District in fiscal 2010 and were on pace to exceed that total in fiscal 2011, AAA Mid-Atlantic said in August after filing a Freedom of Information Act request with the city.

“Safety may be in the back seat, and revenue is in the front seat,” said Lon Anderson, managing director for the club, noting visitors buttress the city’s economy. “Instead of welcoming them with open arms, we’re welcoming them with open ticket books.”

Metropolitan Police Department Chief Cathy L. Lanier noted that numerous communities ask for the cameras, citing safety, and their use allows her to deploy officers in other crime-fighting capacities.

The lack of a human touch in traffic enforcement worries AAA, noting it cannot account for exigent circumstances, but city officials argue the tickets are reviewed by humans and contestable in court.

Mr. Gray’s deputy mayor for public safety, Paul Quander, said the city mulls concerns from both sides of the issue.

“There’s always a balance that is there,” Mr. Quander said.

Before the council, Mr. Gray said he is not sure whether D.C. residents would be most affected by automated traffic enforcement. He figured that drivers who are “snared, if you will,” on the outer edges of the city would mostly be from outside the District.

The police department’s contingent of mobile cameras can be moved around the city, so enforcement areas can changed, Chief Lanier said.

To prove the measures are working, Mr. Anderson said, city officials should be projecting a decline in speed-camera revenue.

“Did you hear anyone say that?” Mr. Anderson said. “No, they project 30 million more in revenue.”

The mayor’s budget director, Eric Goulet, did testify it would be “a good thing” to see those numbers go down.

“But unfortunately,” he added, the city’s chief financial officer projects “we will be getting this revenue and they’ve worked closely with [D.C. police] to certify it.”