Illinois governor calls for interstate cameras

| 8/11/2008

Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich is in hot pursuit of adding cameras along interstates in the state to catch speeders. Tickets issued would pay for more state troopers.

Cameras would be added in high-accident corridors across the state under the governor’s plan, which would need legislative approval. If signed into law, the Illinois State Police would set up 108 cameras to nab speeders in both directions on major highways, the Daily Herald reported.

It is estimated that the camera system sought by Blagojevich would raise $40 million to hire 500 troopers during the next three years. Violators would face $75 fines.

Currently, local governments in eight counties throughout Illinois are authorized to ticket red-light runners at intersections. The counties are in the Chicago and St. Louis areas.

A failed effort at the statehouse this year sought to expand the use of cameras to six more counties. Despite passage in the House, the Senate narrowly defeated the measure.

The demise of the red-light camera bill could make for an uphill battle to get the governor’s proposal through the Legislature.

Advocates say the enforcement equipment is about safety and using technology in a helpful way. Others say authorizing use of cameras frees up police to address bigger issues.

Opponents, including trucking industry officials, question the claim that cameras are intended solely to keep people safe.

“The motivation of every player in this deal is economics. Whether it’s the local jurisdiction or the manufacturer. That’s not reasonable justification for doing that,” said Todd Spencer, executive vice president of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association.

The governor’s proposal could come up for consideration once the 2009 regular session begins in January.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Illinois in 2008, click here.

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor