We all know that on May 13, a bill was signed in law by Governor Charlie Crist and became effective as of July 1st, 2010.
The state will not keep the largest part of the fines. The cities will still get a substantial amount. And $ 13 will be given to the Trauma Center.
Before the bill South Florida cities would fine you $125, most of it for the cities to keep. But it was apparently illegal and the state came to the rescue with the Traffic Cameras Law. But at a price.
Is this funny or what!
Will that teach a lesson to the cities? You ask big daddy for help , and he'll keep most of the booty! Or should we call this story "Big Brother and Big Daddy's go hunting?"
On another note, with this reduced loot, does it make sense at this point for cities' commissioners to risk their political clout on traffic cameras?
Time to reconsider, because some people are really angry.
From the Orlando Sentinel - May 12, 2010|
Red-light camera backers blast AAA
Orlando and other proponents of red-light cameras are upset that the AAA Auto Club South is making a surprise, last-minute attempt to convince Gov. Charlie Crist to veto a bill that would allow the traffic-enforcement systems on state roads.
"It's more about the money than it is traffic safety," Kevin Bakewell, a vice president with AAA in Tampa, said of the bill awaiting Crist's signature.
Orlando officials argued Tuesday that the motorists' organization once backed the measure and has mischaracterized its true intent in a nine-page letter to Crist.
"We realize it's not perfect, but we've tried to get something done on this for 10 years," said Kathy Russell, an Orlando lobbyist who supported the bill.
Crist, who has indicated he supports the bill, has until Saturday to decide what to do. His spokesman, Sterling Ivey, said the governor has not seen the AAA letter yet and declined further comment.
Russell said the city is hoping Crist will sign off on the proposal.
"The governor is for the people," Russell said, "so he ought to be for the safety of the people."
Bakewell said it is unusual for his organization to seek a veto, but he said AAA's concerns during the session completed a couple of weeks ago were not addressed. Chief among the complaints:
Too much of the fine would go to the state's general fund and not for traffic enforcement or emergency rooms. Between $70 and $110 of the $158 ticket would go the state's daily operating budget, $13 would go to trauma centers and the remainder would go to cities and counties.
The state would not have to notify violators for 30 days that they had been filmed running a light. Bakewell contends the notice should be sent within seven days.
Studies should be conducted at each intersection before a camera is installed to be sure that adjustments to the traffic signals might not solve the problem more efficiently. No process has been set up for choosing red light locations.
At least 30 Florida cities already have cameras in place, and officials say they will install more if Crist approves the bill.
Apopka police Chief Charles Vavrek said he is confident Crist will side with the cameras: "I think that he recognizes that the public's safety far outweighs the concerns that AAA may have had."
Because there was no state law, cities and counties have not been able to place cameras on Florida-owned and maintained roads. Those roads typically have more traffic and potentially more red-light runners.
The bill would take effect July 1.
A House analysis of the bill (HB 325) estimates the state would bring in more than $29 million during the coming year as the cameras go up. That revenue would jump to almost $95 million a year by 2014. Local governments could get $10 million this year and next and almost $66 million by 2014.