By on January 20, 2010

Sorry... ( York Governor David A. Patterson (D) is joining a number of other states in promoting the use of freeway speed cameras as a way to address his state’s massive $7.4 billion budget shortfall. Patterson’s budget proposal, released yesterday, includes a plan to deploy fifty photo radar vans to generate $96 million in net profit for the general fund by 2012.

“The mistakes of the past — squandering surpluses, papering over deficits, relying on irresponsible fiscal gimmicks to finance unsustainable spending increases — have led us to a financial breaking point,” Patterson wrote. “There are no more easy answers…. The only way we can emerge from this crisis is through shared sacrifice.”

Patterson’s budget describes the use of speed cameras on freeways as a “revenue action” that does not constitute a tax increase or a fee increase. His announcement came after that of California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) who earlier this month launched an initiative to use five-hundred cameras to issue tickets worth up to $325 each to generate $398 million in profit, not counting the money split with the private vendor that will run the program.

New York’s more modest plan involves issuing cheaper $50 tickets on the freeway and $100 tickets in so-called “work zones” where speed limits have been lowered. Forty of the cameras will be positioned in the pricier work zones — with no requirement that actual work be done in the zone — and ten cameras will be positioned on other high-volume highways. Patterson’s plan also includes a provision guaranteed to create a reduction in collision statistics following installation of the cameras.

“[The budget will] increase the Law Enforcement Motor Vehicle Accident Report threshold from $1000 to $3000 and eliminate the requirement that motorists also file accident reports,” Patterson’s proposal states.

With fewer reports, the new statistics will show fewer accidents in the “after” period, even if the actual number of collisions remains unchanged. This change and the speed camera program itself will require the approval of the New York State Assembly which approved a massive expansion of red light cameras in 2009.


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22 Comments on “New York Governor Promotes Speed Cameras As Budget Fix...”

  • avatar

    So the more technology progresses, the more motorists can look forward to being mugged by the state to help balance budgets.

    I love how the revenue created by these systems is such a sure thing that elected officials discuss it as a viable budget fix with a straight face and without a hint of shame.

    Treating your citizens like an ATM is a great way to get elected out of office.

    • 0 avatar

      Treating your citizens like an ATM is a great way to get elected out of office.

      The thing is, the idiot populace won’t vote them out of office. That’s the reason they continue to do this sort of nonsense. They know they can get away with it.

    • 0 avatar
      Mr Carpenter

      Maybe we the people and we the electorate are actually gaining some insight (not the Honda kind), knowledge and wisdom. 

      Look at the election just yesterday if you doubt my word. 

      No, I WON’T be treated as an ATM machine, thank you very much. 

      Yes, I AM the boss of you the politicians, along with the rest of the citizens.  Not the other way ’round. 

    • 0 avatar
      Facebook User

      The typical reaction of the populace is that, “I’m not doing anything wrong so why should I care?”.  Of course this doesn’t take into account the people that actually agree with a scheme like this.

    • 0 avatar

      For what it’s worth, we never actually voted Paterson into office in the first place. He has basically assumed that he is dictator-for-life, and I am going to have a fit if the Seneca Nation blocks I90 because of cigarette taxes.
      ….on the other hand, at least no one here is pretending that speed cameras actually have anything to do with public safety, or even law enforcement.

  • avatar

    Since the governor is legally blind, the headline is either an unfortunate coincidence, an insensitive choice of words, or a try at humor. I get all three.
    But I will suggest that he is ‘blind’ to the realities of red light cameras – increased accidents, no revenue benefit, and the risk of citizen revolt.

  • avatar

    Nice verb choice in the title for this post.  If David A. Patterson was in charge of reading license numbers from the photographs, then this speed camera program would not be very effective! 

  • avatar

    So he is addressing the "mistakes of the past" by repeating them. Just another NYS tax for me to avoid as much as possible.

    In his defense, there really is no helping New York. This state is so far gone.

    • 0 avatar

      And one of those “mistakes of the past”? 

      “..relying on irresponsible fiscal gimmicks to finance unsustainable spending increases…”

      Which is exactly what red-light/speeding cameras are.

      It’s the guy’s MENTAL blindness that’s the problem.

  • avatar

    I can understand that you disagree, but seriously, that’s a cheap shot at someone’s unfortunate disability.

  • avatar

    Look Folks, if SNL can get away with it – TTAC will too.  Despite the unfortunate decision he has made regarding speed cameras in NY, I chuckled due to the title.

  • avatar
    Mr Carpenter

    Bah, to hell with these imbecilic states and their money grabs.  I don’t have to go to New York, rarely travel to Indiana, purposely avoid Ohio’s speed traps and don’t speed at all when in Ontario. 

    My home state, Michigan, may be flat broke but at least the posers that be – I mean powers that be – in Lansing don’t ding us for every single thing every chance they get. 

    Except when they do, of course. 

    But it’s not with speed cameras or red light cameras.  The Michigan Constitution (which is actually – what a novel frickin’ idea – followed in this instance) states that to be arrested (i.e. stopped) and ticketed, you must be in the actual attendance of a police officer doing the actual deed.  Not a robot photo money grabbing money grubbing Australian hired gun company taking 1/4 off the top. 

  • avatar

    “The only way we can emerge from this crisis is through shared sacrifice.”
    My goodness, he’s channeling his inner Al Gore.  So, how much of the governor’s staff will be cut?  How many unsuccessful government programs in NY will be closed?  How will government pensions be reduced?  He is right that gravy train is no longer available, but I’m guessing he believes that NY has a revenue problem rather than a spending problem.

  • avatar

    It will take decades of photo ticket “profits” ($96M) to cover the single year deficit ($7.4B).
    Try having a real budget and quit overspending.
    “Work zones” with no work being done?  That’s not a “work zone”.

  • avatar

    I look foward to voting Paterson out of office, If he actually runs.

    • 0 avatar

      After which we can look forward to electing the next powerless fool who has no control over Albany and the unions.  And "nothing" is all that changes in NY .

    • 0 avatar

      That’s the said part isn’t it? They’ll continue to jack up their own salaries while doing nothing to merit such an increase. And people will just continue to point fingers “It’s all them damn republipukes fault” ,”Curse those socialist Demokrats!”. It’s seems everything has to be black and white these days (no racial implication intended). Disagree with Obama in anyway well that makes you a delusional Fox News,  Rush, Beck fanatic. Agree with Obama in anyway well now your a nutty left wing, Communist, Terrorist, socialist.

  • avatar
    John B

    ” Forty of the cameras will be positioned in the pricier work zones — with no requirement that actual work be done in the zone”

    Cute. Very cute.  The NDP (socialist) government in Ontario in the early ’90’s introduced photo radar in 1994 under the guise of safety.  The following year the Conservatives lead by Mike Harris made the elimination of photo radar part of their platform in that year’s election.  After winning easily, they abolished photo radar within a week or two of being in office. 

  • avatar

    You can’t blame Patterson for giving his people a raise. After the “reputations” they’ve gained working for this stooge, what similar opportunities will come along?

  • avatar

    There were radar vans in British Columbia Canada for a few years (’95-2000 as I recall). I came to the conclusion that they were useless at catching real speeders; they can only catch people going 10 over who are not paying attention. B.C. had a policy of putting them at specific, safe places on the shoulder. If you drove a route you soon knew where to slow down.

    The upside, if you wanted to speed, was that you could pretty well speed everywhere else– since almost all the traffic cop resources were now tied down to radar vans. The downside was there was a lot less real traffic enforcement of plain bad driving.

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