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Talking Sense About Red Light Cameras in Connecticut

3:54 PM EST on January 8, 2010

RLC.jpgYour partner won't catch you with your lover in a red light camera photo from this distance.

A Connecticut campaign for red light cameras offers a reality-based counterpoint to the growing backlash against automated enforcement.

The CT Livable Streets Campaign worked hard throughout 2009 on legislation allowing municipalities to implement
automated red light camera enforcement programs -- a measure they hope will pass in the Connecticut General Assembly's upcoming session.

This will be the fourth or fifth year that red light camera legislation has been introduced in the state, according to New Haven alderwoman and CT Livable Streets member Erin Sturgis-Pascale. She's optimistic about this year as the group has worked with legislators who opposed past measures. The proposed regs were also revamped to include provisions addressing previous objections. As Sturgis-Pascale explains:

One new inclusion that I think is very important is that the revenue that will be generated from the fines will be deposited into a special "TrafficSafety education, enforcement and improvement" fund rather than thegeneral fund of the municipalities. This diffuses the accusations thatthe fines are only an attempt to fill budget holes by demonstratingthat the traffic safety goals are sincere. The money could be used topay for the RLC equipment and any surplus could fund safety campaigns,traffic calming or other initiatives to improve traffic safety. This is a response to a publicsafety crisis, not a budget crisis.

This
week, the New Haven Board of Aldermen passed by an overwhelming majority a
resolution urging the New Haven delegation to the General Assembly to support camera legislation.
CT Livable Streets has created a "Red Light Cameras Save Lives" Facebook group where they hope Connecticut legislators and voters will show their support as the February commencement of the General Assembly session approaches.

They've also created a handy online red light camera fact sheet,
dispelling myths such as "My partner is going to open my mail and catch
me with my lover
!" and "Automated enforcement violates the U.S.
Constitution!" The red light issue may be among the less contentious uses of traffic cameras, but CT Livable Streets' work should be an invaluable resource to advocates working on traffic cam campaigns around the nation.

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