Red Light Bill Clears Second Hurdle
The perennial piece of legislation pushed largely by the New Haven community seems to have more support this year than in previous years. However, before the Planning and Development Committee vote Monday, a handful of lawmakers admitted they’re having trouble parsing some of the conflicting data from advocates and lobbyists on either side of the issue.
Rep. Richard Smith, R-New Fairfield, said he understands that the cameras can act as revenue generators and save lives—both good things. And he’s happy to vote for the legislation to get out of committee, but he feels he’s getting too much misinformation and needs to research the issue himself before making a final determination.
Rep. Linda Gentile, D-Ansonia, didn’t disagree with Smith. She said she also has concerns about the bill and may vote against it in the future if she’s not confident municipalities can get the outcomes they’re looking for.
Rep. Roland Lemar III, D-New Haven, who advocated for the legislation before becoming a lawmaker himself, said the communities he represents don’t think of the legislation as a revenue generator.
“We look at the impact it will have on our communities and our lives,” Lemar said.
Lemar, who lives near a dangerous intersection in New Haven right off I-91’s Trumbull Street exit, said drivers know it’s impossible for a police officer to monitor that intersection and take advantage of that. He said cars blow through that intersection continually making it unsafe to pedestrians and bikers.
He said these red light cameras are a way in which citizens can reclaim their streets.
Sen. Eric Coleman, D-Hartford, said he’s voted against this legislation in the past, but he voted for it Monday because advocates of the bill believe it will enhance public safety in their communities.
And even though Sen. Len Fasano, R-North Haven, voted for the bill he maintained reservations about whether it will work. He said he just saw a Today Show report Monday that showed in Broward County, Florida every person who challenged their ticket has won so the revenue the county expected just wasn’t there.
But in that same report an official from North Miami said the cameras have reduced accidents by 60 percent.
Click here to watch the report.
The bill now goes to the Senate.