Indiana Lawmakers Push Freeway Speed Cameras
Lawmakers in Indiana, swayed by the potential budget enhancement that recently convinced California’s governor, have introduced legislation that would authorize photo ticketing in the state. House Minority Floor Leader Bill Friend (R-Macy) and state Representative Shelli VanDenburgh (D-Crown Point) last week filed House Bill 1289 to create a so-called work zone freeway speed camera program.
“Revenues for the new fiscal year are way down,” Friend wrote on the day he introduced HB 1289. “Since July 1, 2009, the state is $500 million short of projections.”
Under Friend’s proposal, the state transportation department would lower the speed limit on freeways to 45 MPH, then allow private contractors to issue automated citations worth $300 to $1000 each to drivers who may have missed the speed reduction sign. The tickets could be issued even when no work is being done in the so-called work zone.
In Maryland, a similar program generated 8800 tickets within its first six weeks, which means the program is on track to generate 76,000 citations by year’s end. Indiana legislators have also been influenced by the construction zone photo radar program operated by Affiliated Computer Services (ACS) in neighboring Illinois since May 2006.
Over the past few years, ACS has made sure to make its presence equally known in the hallways of Indianapolis. The company lavished $64,500 in campaign donations on various Indiana lawmakers, with the lion’s share — $40,500 — going to Governor Mitch Daniels (R). The photo ticketing company also gave $2500 to the House Democratic Caucus.
In addition to ACS, the insurance industry stands to make millions if the legislature approves a photo ticketing program that imposes points on the licenses of ticket recipients. Not surprisingly, insurance companies and political action committees numbered among the top contributors to Friend’s political campaign account. In a message to constituents last week, Friend denied that industry lobbyists hold sway over the state capital.
“Ultimately, everyone who contacts a legislator is a lobbyist,” Friend wrote. “Whether by phone call, e-mail, lunch or dinner, a conversation to influence legislation or issue is lobbying. To think that a lunch, dinner or ticket to a game can buy a vote is in my mind a stretch and I do not believe that it occurs.”
A copy of HB 1289 is available in a 140k PDF file at the source link below.
House Bill 1289 (Indiana General Assembly, 1/12/2010)
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I'm pretty sure Indiana already finances road construction using construction zone fines. There's a 2 mile stretch of highway between my home and office that has been a construction zones for months and months. I see workers maybe 2-3 days a month, but I see 2-3 cars a day pulled over (presumably) for speeding.
Seems those Chicagoans whose only purpose is to pass through Indiana as quickly as possible on their way to beautiful West Michigan have finally brought something else with them that, somehow, makes Indiana suck even more.... This is straight out of the Illinois playbook. They should love it in Indiana. I'll give them credit for raising limits to 70mph where they were previously 55mph, but with the way the Indiana Toll Road and Borman Expressway are under 24/7/365 construction, who can really go 70mph anyway. And as if their trooper patrol on these roads (particularly during the summer....prime time to snag some Illinois or Michigan motorists) wasn't bad enough, now we'll have loads of speed cameras up our asses?! To the poster above regarding creating workzones....maybe they won't create workzones just for fun, but if its like Illinois, they'll be there for months, 24/7 enforcement even if no workers present, and they'll take their sweet time getting the job done, then just for good measure, leave the construction zone in place for a few additional weeks until they finally take down the signs. And in Indiana, near Gary, the toll road is under constant construction (I travel this road frequently for work and leisure), yet rarely are they any workers, or even equipment. But I'll pass 8 troopers in 15 miles.... hell even been passed by a trooper at 80mph (I kept up with him) only to see him pull over a few miles down the road, stop in the median, and wait for the next sucker doing 62 on the same stretch he just did 80 on.... Keep it up governments. Won't be much longer now before everyday, honest, people will start finding ways to obscure their license plates from these ridiculous systems. Actually, taking a pause, might be easier to hide from the cameras than the cops. Might not be a bad tradeoff. Put it to a vote....