Traffic camera ban? Not likely

But regulation still stands a chance
2014-02-04T14:37:00Z 2014-04-02T18:54:19Z Traffic camera ban? Not likelyJames Lynch, Capital Bureau 319 398-8375; Muscatine Journal

DES MOINES, Iowa — A vocal foe of traffic enforcement devices is dropping his legislative effort to ban them in favor of the proposed rules to require communities to document safety justifications before installing traffic cameras on state primary highways.

“It’s not going anywhere,” Rep. Walt Rogers, R-Cedar Falls, said about his bill, House File 334, which would ban traffic cameras and speed cameras.

He said he's “OK” with the Department of Transportation rules that would require a six-part justification for the implementation, placement and use of automated traffic enforcement systems. The standards include provisions relating to motorist safety, signage and effectiveness.

Muscatine is one of several Iowa Cities that use the cameras.

DOT Director Paul Trombino believes the automated traffic enforcement systems should be used as a last resort after other safety measures have been exhausted, not to generate revenue for cities.

Those DOT rules will be on the agenda when the Administrative Rules Review Committee meets on Friday, Feb. 7.

However, a subcommittee of the House Transportation Committee will take up HF 2016, which would, for the most part, codify the DOT rules, on Wednesday, Feb. 5.

Transportation Committee Chairman Josh Byrnes, R-Osage, said lawmakers believe the DOT is overstepping it authority in trying to regulate the cameras through the rule-making process.

“They’re legislating through rules,” Byrnes said. “That’s our job.”

He expects the full committee will discuss HF 2016 when it meets Thursday, Jan. 6.

“I’m not a big fan,” Byrnes said about the traffic cameras, “but they’re here to stay, so we need uniformity from one end of the state to the other.”

Unlike Rogers, Sen. Brad Zaun, R-Urbandale, isn’t giving up the fight. He plans to attack traffic cameras through the amendment process.

The DOT rules are a “step in the right direction, but I won’t stop until (cameras) are banned,” Zaun said.

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