By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor
One step closer to passage at the Pennsylvania statehouse is an effort billed to improve safety on roadways.
The Senate Appropriations Committee voted 21-5 on Monday, Oct. 17, to advance a bill to protect the use of automated enforcement in Philadelphia and allow more communities throughout the state to post red-light cameras. The bill’s next stop is the full Senate. If approved there, SB595 would advance to the House for further consideration.
Currently, only the city of Philadelphia is authorized to use the revenue generator. The revenue from the program is split between the city and the state for pedestrian safety improvements.
The program in Philadelphia is scheduled to expire Dec. 31, 2011. The bill would extend the expiration date to Dec. 31, 2017, and also authorize Pittsburgh, Scranton and third-class cities with populations of at least 18,000 people to post red-light cameras for the next six years.
Affected communities must also have full-time police forces.
Sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, R-Delaware, the bill mandates that revenue continue to be split between local governments and the state. In addition, all revenue generated would be devoted to transportation safety improvements.
Opponents, including the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, dispute any claim that the primary focus of the cameras is to keep people safe. OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer said it is obvious that Pennsylvania’s use of the enforcement tool is primarily focused on filling coffers instead of simply trying to keep people safe.
“When you have enforcement that is designed for revenue you undermine respect for legitimate safety initiatives,” Spencer said.
To view other legislative activities of interest for Pennsylvania, click here.
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