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It's about revenue

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By The Tribune-Review

Published: Friday, Jan. 3, 2014, 8:57 p.m.

Having fought Philadelphia's red-light ticket cameras since 2002, I find Pittsburgh City Council's approval for a “pilot” red-light camera program very troubling. This actually means a permanent program to target mostly safe drivers for revenue to primarily benefit PennDOT and council.

Camera vendors do not allow their cameras to be placed in locations that are not profitable, so profits are assured, and these problem intersections will not be fixed. Once the multimillion-dollar revenue stream of profits is flowing, it is nearly impossible to stop it — regardless of any increased crash rates and any data proving little or no safety benefit. Money will then be the cameras' sole purpose, as it is already for the camera vendors and their paid PR people who apparently won the day to install their for-profit cameras in Pittsburgh.

Philadelphia's “pilot” program has generated $73.3 million since 2005 and only a statewide ban on ticket cameras could possibly kill that golden goose, despite unbiased Philadelphia Police Department data showing the cameras raised crash rates in 2005 when the program was new, and were still doing so in 2011 when the “pilot” came up for renewal. Dollars are all that count.

If the citizens of Pittsburgh allow red-light ticket cameras to be installed, there will be an increase in accidents, injuries and fatalities, as shown in 40 independent studies. After nine years of red-light ticket camera enforcement, The Philadelphia Inquirer's editorial board wonders if the cameras are worth the money.

Tom McCarey




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