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Cities and counties would lose most red light camera cash under bill

by John Kennedy | January 9th, 2014

Cities and counties would lose most of the money they get from red light cameras under legislation approved Thursday by a House panel, marking the latest blow by critics looking to remove the controversial devices.

The measure was tucked into a wide-ranging transportation bill. But camera defenders said it was way too early to predict that Thursday’s vote signals an end to the devices, which pulled more than $60 million into local government coffers last year.

“This is not the end of the journey, it is merely the beginning,” said Rep. Ed Hooper, R-Clearwater, a camera supporter and chairman of the House’s transportation budget committee, which positions him to block the fee-cut plan.

But Rep. Frank Artiles, R-Miami, who crafted the proposal that includes a moratorium on any new cameras being put up, said it was time to tell the truth about cameras.

“The purpose of this bill is to eliminate the profiteering by local governments,” Artiles said. “If it’s about safety, make it about safety.”

Used by 77 cities and counties, red light cameras may be facing their sternest test this year, since they were approved by the Legislature in 2010.

A year later, the House voted to repeal the authority for local governments – but couldn’t get the Senate to go along. This year, for the first time, legislation has been filed in both chambers to bar the cameras.

Camera companies, which contract with local governments, have muscled up for the legislative session beginning in March.

American Traffic Solutions, the Arizona-based company that contracts with local governments — including Palm Beach County — to install the cameras and commands about 80 percent of the Florida market, has 23 lobbyists poised to work state Capitol hallways next spring.

ATS also is an active political player, contributing $160,000 to the Florida Republican Party and $95,000 to the Florida Democratic Party over the past two years, records show.

 

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6 Responses to “Cities and counties would lose most red light camera cash under bill”

  1. vote them out nof office Says:

    These things end up propably causing tons more accidents with sudden stops and shortened yellow light times.

    Its such a transparent scam by local politicians on the people.

  2. Jim Kirkland Says:

    Red light cameras are unconstitutional. So are DUI checkpoints, which directly violate our 4th amendment rights…

  3. Una Paloma Blanca-ah-AHH Says:

    Great news !
    Hit ‘em where it hurts: the pocketbook.
    $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
    Bad news for the profiteers: Mayor Mort Levine aka the Juno jerk.
    $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

  4. dogfan2001 Says:

    I received a “ticket” in Boynton Beach on Christmas. When I called the company (who gets the majority of the money) they had no one to speak to. It was just phone messages. When I called the Boynton Police all they had was that “not my problem” blah blah blah cop attitude. How can I get a ticket when it could have been me, my wife, one of my teenage kids or my grandmother driving the car? I could have 4 cars registered to me for my whole family. They tell you to fill out a form and provide proof that you were not the driver and who was. So I have to prove that I am NOT guilty???? Is that the way the system works? It is not some little $20 parking fine. It was $158. This company (located in Ohio and Arizona) is basically using the authority of local police to generate income for themselves. Does this sound ethical?

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  6. Joe Says:

    What the article does not address is what will happen to the money that’s collected if it’s not going to the local governments. It will be interesting to see if local communities continue to allow these devices to be installed after loosing their cut of the take. Removing the community’s financial incentive for creating a motorist trap is a great idea. Like Rep. Frank Artiles said, if it’s supposed to be about safety then let it be about safety. For anyone who has received one of these citations you know that it is nothing short of extortion. If you choose to go to court and fight the citation on principle your minimum cost is doubled.

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