MA Gov. Patrick: Lower State Deficit With Red Light Camera Revenue

The Newspaper
by The Newspaper

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick (D) on Thursday outlined his plan to reduce the state’s $600 million deficit and help struggling municipalities by, among several other revenue raising measures, installing red light cameras. The governor’s proposed fiscal year 2010 budget amendments would eliminate an existing state law forcing police officers to issue traffic citations personally. Under the new legislation, any jurisdiction in the commonwealth could give private, for-profit companies the right to issue $100 traffic tickets.

Although some lawmakers had proposed red light camera authorization bills in the past sessions, the measures have never succeeded. Patrick’s quiet inclusion of the measure in must-pass legislation gives the proposal new momentum. Photo enforcement firms encouraged the move by giving lawmakers $10,245 in campaign donations. Australia’s Redflex Traffic Systems gave $1800 to Patrick and state legislators, Affiliated Computer Services gave $7445 and Nestor Traffic Systems, now American Traffic Solutions, gave $1000. National Motorists Association researcher John Carr said that introduction of the legislation as part of the budget process was a sign that Patrick’s primary concern is monetary.

“Red light cameras have a long track record of making roads more dangerous,” Carr told TheNewspaper. “The governor isn’t even pretending this is about safety. He is risking the lives of the public out of no motive other than pure greed.”

In 2006, residents of Swampscott rejected red light cameras in a town meeting. The town had formed a special committee to investigate whether traffic cameras would benefit the town. It concluded that although such a system would generate $490,000 in revenue, the number of accidents would increase ( view report).

Patrick’s proposal would enforce payment of the automated citations by suspending the driver’s license and vehicle registration of owners who fail to pay after two tickets are sent to his last known address. The suspensions remain in effect until the tickets and late penalties are paid in full, in addition to a $40 reinstatement fee that is split between the municipality and the state. The proposal also allows localities to seize or boot vehicles for non-payment.

Cities implementing a camera program would submit an annual report to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation detailing the number of citations issued, the number found guilty by an administrative hearing and the amount of revenue generated by the program.

Patrick’s proposal must be approved by the state House and Senate before becoming law.

[courtesy thenewspaper.com]

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  • Vento97 Vento97 on Nov 03, 2009
    ptr2void: Together we can! As long as the voting public keep electing candidates from the same two parties, that slogan might as well read: "Together we can assume the position and say - Thank you sir, may I have another..." Democrats and Republicans - First-world prosperity for themselves, third-world prosperity for the rest of us....
  • Vento97 Vento97 on Nov 03, 2009
    Kendahl: Suppose your car is on its last legs. Nobody will buy it and no dealer will take it in trade. Just make a habit of stopping for every red light you can. It won’t be long before somebody rear ends you. Then, you can sell it to his insurance company for top price. The red light camera gives you a gold plated excuse. “I didn’t want to get a ticket for running the red.” Excellent scenario! Kinda like "Cash For Clunkers" - but it's on the dime of the one entity which stands to profit from the speed cameras - BIG INSURANCE! I like it... Let that big dog bite it's own tail this time...:)
  • ToolGuy Personally I have no idea what anyone in this video is talking about, perhaps someone can explain it to me.
  • ToolGuy Friendly reminder of two indisputable facts: A) Winners buy new vehicles (only losers buy used), and B) New vehicle buyers are geniuses (their vehicle choices prove it):
  • Groza George Stellantis live off the back of cheap V8 cars with old technology and suffers from lack of new product development. Now that regulations killed this market, they have to ditch the outdated overhead.They are not ready to face the tsunami of cheap Chinese EVs or ready to even go hybrid and will be left in the dust. I expect most of their US offerings to be made in Mexico in the future for good tariff protection and lower costs of labor instead of overpriced and inflexible union labor.
  • MaintenanceCosts This is delaying an oil change for my Highlander by a couple of weeks, as it prevented me from getting an appointment before a business trip out of town. Oh well, much worse things have happened.I also just got a dealership oil change for my BMW (thanks, loss-leader prepaid plans!) and this didn't seem to affect them at all.
  • Kwik_Shift_Pro4X Gonna need more EV fuel.
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