FAST ACT: Red-light, speed cameras lose federal funding

By Tyson Fisher, Land Line staff writer | 12/8/2015

As several state governments address the issue of red-light camera enforcement, the federal government has decided to strip some funding. Under the new highway bill, use of funds under the highway safety improvement program will be prohibited for automated traffic enforcement.

The five-year Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act, or FAST Act, was signed into law by President Barack Obama on Dec. 4. The bi-partisan legislation passed the U.S. House of Representatives on Dec. 3 by a vote of 359-65 and the Senate later that same day by a vote of 83-16. The 1,300-page legislation authorizes federal surface programs through fiscal year 2020, providing $305 billion for roads, bridges and mass transit.

In the “Miscellaneous” section of the FAST Act, the purchase, operation or maintenance of an automated traffic enforcement system will not receive funding apportioned to states under the safety improvement program in Title 23 of the U.S. Code.

Automated traffic enforcement systems located in a school zone are exempt from the funding prohibition.

According to the bill, “automated traffic enforcement system” is defined as “any camera that captures an image of a vehicle for the purposes of traffic law enforcement.” As defined by Title 23, a “safety improvement project” is “a strategy, activity, or project on a public road that is consistent with the State strategic highway safety plan and corrects or improves a roadway feature that constitutes a hazard to road users or addresses a highway safety problem.”

Many states, including Florida and Missouri, have pursued bills that could limit or ban the use of red-light cameras. Other states, such as Pennsylvania and Oregon, have taken a different approach by attempting to add or preserve use of automated enforcement.

Related stories:
Pennsylvania bills out to save, expand use of ticket cameras
Florida lawmaker renews effort to outlaw red-light cameras
Oregon's largest city will soon add speed cameras
Missouri lawmakers go on offensive to combat ticket cams

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