Ohio bill would cut funding to cities that use traffic cameras


COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio lawmaker wants to test the theory that traffic cameras are meant to prevent crashes and not boost municipal budgets by cutting funding to cities that use them.

State Rep. Bill Seitz introduced a bill that would offset revenue cities earn from cameras by reducing the same amount from its state funding.

“The cities have claimed the red light and speed cameras are all about safety and not about money,” the Cincinnati Republican told Cleveland.com. “We’re going to put them to the proof.”

The bill would also move all civil traffic violations to municipal court and leave cities on the hook for court costs regardless of outcome. Some violations are currently handled by an administrative hearing officer.

Kent Scarrett, executive director of the Ohio Municipal League, said the bill is a “gotcha” that could tie the hands of cities and towns with limited law enforcement resources.

“This carrot and stick approach on issues is a little tiresome for our members when we’re trying to deal with real issues like job creation and fighting the opioid epidemic, and repairing our infrastructure so we can retain jobs and businesses,” Scarrett said.

Several cities shuttered their fixed traffic cameras in 2015 after the Legislature passed a law requiring police officers to be present when camera tickets are issued. The Supreme Court struck down that restriction earlier this year, saying it interfered with local authority.

Dayton plans to reinstall the cameras. Akron and other cities are considering whether to implement camera programs.

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