Washington state community poised to decide on ticket cams

| Friday, August 12, 2011

A community in Washington state could soon get the go ahead to decide the fate of red-light cameras and speed cameras posted around the city.

Voters in communities around the country historically are receptive to ballot questions on whether to prohibit the use of ticket cameras. The trend will be tested again this fall as more cities are expected to address the issue on Election Day.

The city of Bellingham, WA, is one community that is expected to decide on the use of automated enforcement. Red-light cameras and speed cameras already are permitted in the city. An initiative that is expected to be included on the local ballot would ask voters whether or not to continue using the enforcement tool to issue tickets.

American Traffic Solutions, the company responsible for the city’s cameras, recently went to Whatcom County Superior Court to stop the vote citing “immediate and irreparable injury.” However, a judge acted early this month to deny a temporary request to keep the question off the ballot.

Undeterred, the Arizona-based company is expected to return to court next week to try to get an injunction barring the initiative from the Nov. 8 ballot.

Specifically, the initiative would require any cameras to be removed. In addition, voters must approve any plan to re-install the devices. Fine amounts would also be limited.

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