Legislative Finance Committee Favors Red Light Bill

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A controversial bill to allow red light enforcement cameras at intersections in Connecticut gained backing from a second key legislative committee Monday — the finance committee, which voted 31-19 to approve it — even though some legislators have begun expressing impatience with the fact that no one really knows exactly what they are supporting.

Monday\’s vote advanced the measure toward further consideration in another committee — the planning and development committee, probably — and then, presumably, votes in the full state House and Senate.

Finance committee co-chairwoman Patricia Widlitz, D-Guilford, called the bill a \”work in progress\” and urged that it be moved forward for more work to further refine it. Other supporters echoed those words.

Probably no bill during the 2012 legislative session, which is set to conclude in just over three weeks, has been referred to more often than the red-light camera bill as a \”work in progress\” — in arguments by legislators asking that it be approved by a committee, and moved forward in the process so that its language can eventually be worked out.

As now written, the bill would enable 19 cities and towns — those with a minimum population of 48,000 — to enforce red light compliance with cameras. The municipalities would issue tickets by mail to the registered owners of the violating vehicles, imposing a $50 fine, plus an additional $15 administrative fee.

When the bill cleared the transportation committee a month ago, that panel\’s co-chairman called it a \”work in progress\” and said the list of eligible cities and towns probably would be pared down to \”maybe six or seven communities that really came out strong for this.\” In the weeks since then, the wording of the bill has remained the same — even though, again, supporters on the finance committee said there are \”discussions\” and \”negotiations\” underway that will pare it back to a smaller number that varied from speaker to speaker from \”two or three\” up to a half dozen.\”

Only unofficial information has been available in hallways of the Capitol complex in Hartford, but so far the speculation is that six municipalities — whose officials have been pushing hard for authorization to use enforcement cameras at intersections in their towns or cities — will be included in the bill, if it is indeed pared back. Those six are said to be: New Haven, Hartford, Bridgeport, Manchester, Hamden, and East Hartford.

Opponents of the bill cited concerns about intrusion by \”Big Brother\” on citizens\’ privacy or said the cameras would make violators out of law-abiding citizens by ticketing them if they make a safe near-stop for a right turn on red, but do not completely cease motion.

Proponents said that everyone in society by now is aware they they are on camera when they go through a toll booth or enter a convenience store, and the cameras at dangerous intersections are an acceptable price to pay for safer streets.

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6 thoughts on “Legislative Finance Committee Favors Red Light Bill

  1. Rob

    Naturally the Finance Committee would approve such a thing but it’s not about the money. Yeah, right.

  2. Lyme Resident

    It’s all about revenue and nothing about public safety. To protest, I will not bring my spending dollars to any of the cities that install these lights.

  3. William L. Bryan

    I do not get fined $65.00 dollars if I walk into a convience store or thru a toll booth.
    It is absolutely about revenue.

  4. Bob MacGuffie

    “They that can give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” – Benjamin Franklin

  5. James C. Walker

    This is a terrible bill that needs to be defeated. In virtually every case, simply adding 1.0 seconds to the yellow intervals on the lights will reduce red light violations by MORE than red light cameras. There is one, and ONLY one reason to use red light cameras instead of safer and longer yellow intervals and that reason is $$$$$$$$$$.
    Red light cameras are a revenue scam because better engineering is more effective to reduce violations AND red light cameras often increase the accident rates at camera intersections. It should be against the principles of any traffic engineer to increase accident risks to collect more revenue, but politicians often put so much pressure on engineers that they are forced to favor more revenue instead of more safety.
    Read the science on our website and if it makes any sense to you, start calling your state legislators to oppose passage of any bill authorizing red light cameras. Also call your local official to oppose any attempts to use them in your area.
    James C. Walker, National Motorists Association, http://www.motorists.org, Ann Arbor, MI

  6. timeshare get out

    The government are doing their best to serve the people in their jurisdiction. Installing the red lights in the intersections, toll booth and convenience store is one of the idea that they think to have a safer street.

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