Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Senate Bill could put halt to Red Light Camera's

As reported by KOB TV, the New Mexico State Senate passed legislation limiting the ability of cities to profit from the use of red light cameras. Senator William H. Payne (R-Albuquerque) originally introduced a bill to place beacons at intersections, but the Senate approved a version limiting the price of photo citations to those already established by state law by a 41-0 vote. According to Senator Payne "They are a guise for making money for the city of Albuquerque".

This would put an immediate halt to the Red Light Camera Programs anywhere in New Mexico. The State fee schedule would barely cover the costs of running a red light camera program. It would still be cheaper than putting officers at these intersections every day. However Albuquerque and other cities currently considering Red Light Camera's (Santa Fe) would not make the enormous amounts of money that they once thought they would.

Albuquerque charges $100 the first time the registered owner of a vehicle is mailed a photo ticket. A second mailing brings a $250 plus 30-day car seizure and on the third occasion, a $500 fine plus 90-day car seizure is imposed. State law provides a $15 first-time fine that rises to a maximum of $200. Albuquerque has raised over Five Million Dollars in the short time they have had the camera's. The Mayor claims all but a small amount has been used to fund the program. Unless Redflex Traffic Systems is way over charging Albuquerque then it seems unlikely that the program has cost over five million dollars.

It will be interesting to see how this bill now does in the House and then if the Governor would sign it. The Camera's could still be used and if the cities who want to use them really care about safety and not making profits, then they might still use them and try to just break even or perhaps subsidise them from the General Fund. My objection to these camera's all along is the involvement of for profit companies and the use of them across the nation to make huge profits for municipality's and the private companies involved.

Click here for more on my blog about red light camera's

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