Washington: Camera Companies Oppose Congestion Reduction Measure

washington camera companies oppose congestion reduction measure

Next Tuesday, Washington state voters will consider Initiative 985. If adopted, I-985 would force local jurisdictions to synchronize traffic signals at high-volume intersections, open High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes during non-peak hours and prohibit the imposition of tolls to raise general revenue. I-985 pays for the synchronization mandate by, among other things, diverting red light camera profits into a traffic congestion relief fund. The measure’s co-sponsor, Tim Eyman, says taking away camera profits would stop local governments from installing the devices as a cash grab. After I-985 qualified for the ballot, five cities dropped plans to adopt photo enforcement. As you’d imagine, the revenue provisions have sparked vicious and vociferous opposition from groups that stand to lose money from the new deal.

Nearly a quarter of the $152,969 raised for the “No on 985” effort came from Signal Electric and American Traffic Solutions, companies involved in traffic camera projects. Toll road firms spent a reported $20k on the anti-985 effort. The American Council of Engineering Companies Washington, HDR Engineering, Parsons Brinckerhoff and Wilbur Smith Associates all fear a loss of business if the measure passes and tolling no longer become an option for state officials to balance the budget.

In direct violation of the Hatch Act, the U.S Department of Transportation recently began efforts to influence the I-985 vote. A top official issued grave warnings about the “degradation of transit performance” if voters approve the measure. The Federal Highway Administration issued an “October surprise” letter last week designed to raise doubt in voters minds about a possible loss of federal funding as a result of the I-985 provision that would open HOV lanes in off-peak hours.

Seattle’s two main newspapers have also attempted to derail the initiative’s passage. “Vote in favor of the initiative and your kid will get smashed in the legs by fenders of a car running a red light, or your grandmother killed as she uses a crosswalk after getting off a bus,” Seattle Post-Intelligencer columnist Joel Connelly wrote.

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  • No_slushbox No_slushbox on Oct 28, 2008
    Landcrusher: The obvious connection between the four companies is that they are government contractors. The likely connection is that all four lobby the government to create imaginary problems to get more business, and that they all provide services that are less effective than if the government simply did it on their own. Numerous Pentagon studies have shown that it would have been cheaper to do logistics and food preparation in house than through Halliburton/KBR. My comment just implied that all four companies are bad on their own; it did not connect any of the companies to politicians. However, since you brought that up. If Obama is elected and gives billions of taxpayer dollars to Ayers for no-bid contracts to provide poorly executed overpriced services then I'll admit that the Obama-Ayers relationship is just as relevant as the Halliburton-Bush/Cheney relationship. Until then it is just a Red Herring. Like the misconception that he is an A-rab. If Obama wins he will have beaten the dirtiest, most pathetic campaign that I have seen in my life. And just in case you want to throw out the other Red Herring, Acorn, here is McCain giving the Keynote Speech at an Acorn Rally before his desperate last chance at President (after Bush stole it from him in the 2000 primaries) forced him to abandon all principals and sense of reality: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S6Z2t7DTVKA&feature=related

  • KeithBates KeithBates on Oct 28, 2008

    Most of you lot don't live in the paradise we call Seattle, where people slow down for tunnels, and slow down again exiting tunnels, or do the "Mercer Crawl", and "Convention Center Crawl". Mercer St leads to I5, there are 6 light controlled intersections, none are synchronized, so the back-up lasts all day. As for the use of HOV lanes for everyone during off peak hours, it works in Portland... SteveL

  • Dennis Howerton Nice article, Cory. Makes me wish I had bought Festivas when they were being produced. Kia made them until the line was discontinued, but Kia evidently used some of the technology to make the Rio. Pictures of the interior look a lot like my Rio's interior, and the 1.5 liter engine is from Mazda while Ford made the automatic transmission in the used 2002 Rio I've been driving since 2006. I might add the Rio is also an excellent subcompact people mover.
  • Sgeffe Bronco looks with JLR “reliability!”What’s not to like?!
  • FreedMike Back in the '70s, the one thing keeping consumers from buying more Datsuns was styling - these guys were bringing over some of the ugliest product imaginable. Remember the F10? As hard as I try to blot that rolling aberration from my memory, it comes back. So the name change to Nissan made sense, and happened right as they started bringing over good-looking product (like the Maxima that will be featured in this series). They made a pretty clean break.
  • Flowerplough Liability - Autonomous vehicles must be programmed to make life-ending decisions, and who wants to risk that? Hit the moose or dive into the steep grassy ditch? Ram the sudden pile up that is occurring mere feet in front of the bumper or scan the oncoming lane and swing left? Ram the rogue machine that suddenly swung into my lane, head on, or hop up onto the sidewalk and maybe bump a pedestrian? With no driver involved, Ford/Volkswagen or GM or whomever will bear full responsibility and, in America, be ambulance-chaser sued into bankruptcy and extinction in well under a decade. Or maybe the yuge corporations will get special, good-faith, immunity laws, nation-wide? Yeah, that's the ticket.
  • FreedMike It's not that consumers wouldn't want this tech in theory - I think they would. Honestly, the idea of a car that can take over the truly tedious driving stuff that drives me bonkers - like sitting in traffic - appeals to me. But there's no way I'd put my property and my life in the hands of tech that's clearly not ready for prime time, and neither would the majority of other drivers. If they want this tech to sell, they need to get it right.