Use of red-light cameras should have a plan for revenues, follow through

Letter to the Editor
Published: 6/25/2010 12:00 AM

Most people know that our nation, state and in most cases local towns are facing a paradox of colossal proportions: We're spending faster than we're earning. Population is growing, debt is soaring, both private and public companies are failing, and taxpayer revenue is becoming even more the answer than it was in years' past.

On the local level, many people are opposed to red-light cameras as a source of revenue. There's such uproar as to whether these should be allowed, especially when so few people feel they actually increase safety.

I can't say I disagree - but I do think it's better to charge people who break the law than to simply increase taxes across the board. I say this as one of many of those cameras' victims - for a right-on-red no less - after almost but not quite coming to a complete stop.

What bothers me - and what I think should bother all of us - more than the source of this money is what actually happens to it after they get the $100 check. I used to think that our system could be relied on to properly provide for future infrastructure. But now, the evidence seems to argue otherwise.

People have written article after article about how unfair it is to use red light cameras because they are purely a cash machine. My point is: fine, now what are you going to do with that cash? If the agencies using these cameras could provide a solid plan that made sense and follow through on it, I think there'd be a lot less backlash.

Perhaps the supporters could help elucidate what this money goes to help? Better schools? Improved roads? If it was clearer and folks saw it was going for a good purpose, there might not be as much opposition. Just a thought.

Justin Lee