Will the Speed Tax be repealed?

Chairman Biggs passed around to the Members for review, a copy of Solicitation Number L8‑022 from DPS, which included an introduction to Redflex usage of cameras for tailgating infractions and equipment locations in an enforcement zone (Attachment 5).

Pay Attention

With the state budget woes, (and all bets suggesting Napolitano knew how bad it was going to be), consider the ubiquitous and hated by many photo radar from RedFlex or Arizona Traffic Systems.  Recent upgrades to their system allow units to make real-time notification to law enforcement of any “vehicle of interest” that happens to pass the camera.  This unit is operational in Show Low Arizona today. Re-read that last sentence, its not just a quick pic but a networked system to law enforcement to run your plates real-time on the fly.

But what does this have to do with the budget?

Per the contract documents, each speed camera is expected to generate 3,000 citations per month, or between 4 to 5 hits per hour per location.  The first phase of the contract specifies 100 deployed cameras (not counting those in your local municipality, but on state highways).  By 2010 the system is expected to expand to 200 units.

The state’s share of the booty?  Each camera per month is projected to generate $282,600 and, when fully deployed over the entire state the new “speed tax” should generate upwards of $340 million dollars per year for a starved state budget and dubious programs.

In January H.B. 2106 was approved by transportation and infrastructure committee and approved by the House Rules Committee on March 30, 2009.

“The state reserves the right to terminate the contract, in whole or in part at any time, when in the best interests of the state, without penalty or recourse,” section 9.4 of the contract states. “Upon receipt of the written notice, the contractor shall stop all work, as directed in the notice… The contractor shall be entitled to receive just and equitable compensation for work in progress, work completed and materials accepted before the effective date of the termination.”

Faced with such a huge cash cow (remember only 5 snapshots per hour generate huge revenues to the state), does the Legislature have what it takes to do the right thing?  Remove the system and prohibit the use of these devices in Arizona.  Or will the lure of easy money have a very strong appeal?

It can be argued that these cameras are indeed a safety device.  I doubt that however.  And in Arizona, one key law enforcement official agrees with me  And he cites the Constitution.

House Bills to monitor:

  • HB 2106 kills the camera program altogether
  • HB 2124 restricts the use of the photo radar system to enforcing only a few specific sections of ARS.
  • HB 2168 mandates a study to determine the necessity of photo radar cameras before AZ DPS and DOT can enter into or renew a contract for speed cameras.
  • HB 2494 creates a statutory limit for photo radar violations of 11 miles above the speed limit. The threshold for triggering speed cameras is currently decided by the police jurisdiction which controls the cameras.

Senate Bills:

  • SB 1291 allows the courts to share photo enforcement violation records with ADOT.
  • SB 1355 removes the cameras from state highways.

Comments

  1. Conservative does not mean Republican says

    This isn’t suprising. More rent-seeking behavior from the government. As long as they treat photo radar as a source of revenue, they will continue to figure out how to maximize their profits.

  2. Kenny Jacobs says

    Or we could refrain from speeding?

  3. Kenny Jacobs says

    Unless, of course, one is the ED of the AZ Republican Party.

  4. Veritas Vincit says

    Or maybe we could eliminate speed limits outside of the obvious 45 or under streets?

  5. 2600 cops came out against the cameras
    last week.

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