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New York State Resists Ticket Camera Expansion
The state legislature is resisting efforts by Buffalo, New York to install red light cameras to increase revenue.

Byron W. Brown
New York state legislators are resisting the call of mayors anxious to install red light cameras. Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown, for example, is facing legislative hurdles to his plan to use photo enforcement to deliver $13 million in revenue. The cameras require the prior approval of the General Assembly which currently authorizes cameras in New York City.

"My concern is, once you start to go down this slope, it starts to get very slippery," Assembly Transportation Committee Chairman David F. Gantt (D-Rochester) told the Buffalo News. "If you do this, what's next? Then people will want cameras to do other things.... It's the old Big Brother watching."

Buffalo has already found 38 locations for the cameras, expecting to install them in "places frequently trafficked by commuters coming into the city," according to documents obtained by the News. Other documents show a strong focus on revenue.

"Why does the city not have a red light program?" asks one document prepared by the Buffalo police. "It would be worth the city's time to see if this program has reduced intersection accidents and to see the amount of revenue it has generated in other cities like Baltimore, MD."

Another document shows a city proposal to "de-synchronize traffic signals in order to slow down traffic,
especially along commercial strips." Immediately following this proposal, the city recommends installing speed and red light cameras to "Aggressively enforce speed limits and other traffic violations," committed by frustrated motorists.

According to the city budget, installing red light cameras will "have a positive impact on revenues collected for both the city and the state." Photo enforcement vendor ATS is hopeful it can land the contract with Buffalo to provide ticketing services. ATS hired Patricia Lynch to lobby Buffalo to gain an advantage over other vendors. Lynch is also paid by the city of Buffalo to lobby on the city's behalf.

Source: Red light photos hit Albany snag (Buffalo News (NY), 5/29/2007)

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