Governor Cuomo Blames Senator Marty Golden for Republicans’ Failure to Pass Speed Camera Bill

Senate is run by Suffolk lawmaker John Flanagan, but Cuomo reserves his ire for Golden.

Governor Cuomo, seen in this file photo, slammed Senate Republicans in a press conference on the day that New York City's speed cameras are set to go dark. Photo: Governor’s Office/Flickr
Governor Cuomo, seen in this file photo, slammed Senate Republicans in a press conference on the day that New York City's speed cameras are set to go dark. Photo: Governor’s Office/Flickr

Updated — Governor Cuomo just singled out Bay Ridge’s Republican State Senator Marty Golden as the main impediment for the chamber’s failure to reauthorize New York City’s speed-camera program.

At a press conference Wednesday — hours before the city’s 140 speed-zone cameras will be shut down because Senate failed to pass an Assembly bill reauthorizing them — the governor made it clear who is to blame: the senator who claimed he supported speed cameras, but then did not compel Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan to take up the issue before going out of session earlier this month.

“For them not to renew the speed camera law puts lives in jeopardy,” the governor said. “They don’t want to admit they’re against it, so they point fingers. … The Assembly passed it. Just go back to Albany and pass the bill you refuse to pass. … They don’t want to pass it!

“Senator Golden says, ‘I’m going to call Senator Flanagan.'” Cuomo continued. “They are part of the same conference! It is the Republican conference. If Senator Golden wanted to pass the bill, Senator Golden would pass the bill because it is about his district. Senator Flanagan is in Suffolk. It’s not in his district. This is all about Senator Golden.”

A spokesman for Golden declined to comment. In a statement on Tuesday, Flanagan had blamed Cuomo and the Assembly for their alleged “unwillingness to engage senators with a larger vision for street safety to protect children.”

Flanagan said “these politicians shamelessly mug for the press as they blame others. They should look no further than within.”

Cuomo was having none of that on Wednesday.

The Senate Republicans are opposed to speed cameras,” he said. “They have allowed them to expire … putting lives in jeopardy. … They refused to extend the speed cameras. For months and months and months. Or they wanted some backroom deal or trade for yeshivas or something. … They have their own argument that the drivers don’t like speed cameras. I understand that drivers don’t like speeding tickets. I didn’t like them as a driver. But here’s my advice if you don’t want speeding tickets: don’t speed!”

In response to a reporter’s question, the governor later added, “The game playing and the finger-pointing has to stop. The Republican Senators are yelling at the person in the mirror. It is them. This is like me saying, ‘I call on Gov. Cuomo to sign the bill as soon as it’s passed.’ I am Gov. Cuomo. … They don’t want to pass the bill. Go pass the bill. … It’s no one else. It’s the person in the mirror.”

The Assembly bill would extend the speed cameras until 2022 and double their number.

Speed cameras are a proven deterrent to speeding and have the backing of the NYPD, Mayor de Blasio, Governor Cuomo, the City Council, Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza and even longtime opponent Golden. The NYPD says that speeding is reduced by 63 percent when cameras are present, and more than 80 percent of scofflaws never get a second ticket — evidence that most drivers slow down after getting a summons in the mail. Traffic deaths declined as more cameras were deployed in 2014 and 2015.

But opponents, backed by donations from the Patrolman’s Benevolent Association, have called speed cameras a gimmick or a “cash grab,” in the words of PBA President Pat Lynch.

After this story was posted, Sen. Golden’s spokesman sent over this statement, which lays the onus on the governor, not Flanagan, to call the special session:

Senator Martin J. Golden (R, C, I, – Brooklyn) today announced a petition drive calling on Governor Cuomo to reconvene the State Legislature to pass Senate Bill 6046. This legislation, cosponsored by Senator Golden, would reinstate the school speed camera program while also increasing the number of cameras. The petition can be signed by going to Golden.nysenate.gov.

“Until today there were speed cameras in 140 school zones. Where these cameras were used, speeding dropped by an average of 63%, while pedestrian injuries dropped by 23 percent according to the Mayor’s Office. During that same period of time, roadway fatalities increased by about 15% nationally. Clearly, speed cameras in school zones work. Bring the Legislature back to pass this bill, before another innocent life is needlessly lost. It is the right thing to do. You know it, I know it, the Mayor knows it, and in his heart, the Governor knows it,” said Senator Golden.

Senate Bill 6046 would extend the school zone speed camera program until 2022. This legislation would also increase the number of school zones covered by the program from 140 to 290 cameras over three years. The Legislation has bipartisan support in the Senate.

“The Governor has done a great job of raising awareness and routing resources to help with the rebuilding of Puerto Rico. It is my hope, that he will take that commitment, drive, and dedication to reinstating the school zone safety camera program. This is an important program to parents, teachers, advocates and most importantly to children. Governor Cuomo owes it to all of us to call the Legislature back, have us pass the bill, and sign it into law before someone is hurt, or God forbid, killed,” continued Senator Golden.

“I am asking everyone who would like to see the school zone safety camera program reinstated and expanded to go to my website. Take a minute, sign the petition, make a statement. It is time to tell Governor Cuomo to stop playing politics. Stop putting our children’s lives at risk. He has the power to do the right thing. Make the Legislature return, and take up Senate Bill 6046,” concluded Senator Golden.

  • Larry Littlefield

    ‘Opponents, backed by donations from the Patrolman’s Benevolent Association, have called speed cameras a gimmick or a “cash grab,” in the words of PBA President Pat Lynch.”

    The soaring costs of pensions, with police and fire the most expensive followed by the teachers, is exactly what has NYC constantly grabbing for cash. On that basis the PBA ought to support cash grabs of any kind.

  • com63

    And to think they they are only arguing about extending it to 2022, so in 4 years, we will have to have the same fight all over again.

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