6/23/2008New York: Bus Lane Camera Legislation Dead
State legislature votes down an attempt to install bus lane cameras in New York City.
A New York State Assembly committee last Tuesday killed legislation that would have allowed New York City to install one of Europe's most lucrative forms of photo enforcement. Bus lane enforcement cameras automatically mail a $115 ticket to the owner of any vehicle that momentarily strays into a special lane designated "Bus Only" (view legislation). Despite the potential to issue thousands of citations, Assembly Transportation Committee members voted 14-11 against the proposal, effectively ending its chance for passage in the current session.
Anti-automobile activists from groups such as Transportation Alternatives hoped the committee's chairman, David Gantt (D-Rochester), may have had a change of heart after he introduced red light camera legislation on behalf of a former staff member now lobbying for an upstart photo ticketing company, CMA Consulting. Gantt instead led the effort to defeat the bus lane cameras.
This is the second major defeat for Mayor Michael Bloomberg, coming after the legislature's April rejection of his signature congestion tax proposal. Other jurisdictions throughout the state have tried to follow Bloomberg's path, equally without success. Nassau County, for example, has a $106 million budget deficit and is begging the legislature to adopt legislation allowing the installation of red light cameras that would generate $15 million in revenue. Suffolk County also hopes to close its $150 million budget gap with a combination of red light cameras and new fees on conventional speeding tickets. Current law only allows the use of red light cameras in New York City.