The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

October 9, 2013

Leave traffic camera decisions to local leaders, residents

The Clinton Herald

---- — Decisions about red-light and speed cameras within city limits should be left to individual municipalities, not the state.

The Department of Transportation has proposed a new set of rules under which cities would have to justify, in annual reports, the use of traffic cameras on state roads.

The big state concern seems to be whether cities are installing traffic cameras for reasons of safety or revenue.

We say, let local leaders and local residents sort all of this out.

Take Sioux City, for example. With input from the local police department, local elected leaders decided to install traffic cameras in our community, and local citizens should and will hold them accountable for those decisions. If residents view local traffic cameras as nothing but a money grab, they should and will demand evidence to the contrary.

This is as it should be.

Decisions about traffic cameras on roads (yes, even state roads) within city limits should be made not by state leaders, but by city leaders — including local law enforcement officials — based on what they believe is best for their community and what the people who live there want or do not want.

Earlier this year, we also opposed a bill sponsored by Rep. Walt Rogers, R-Cedar Falls, under which municipalities would have been required to turn over revenue produced by traffic cameras to the state’s road fund. As we said then, whatever revenue derives from local decisions about traffic cameras is local, not state.