Traffic Camera Ban Likely Dead, But Legislature Looking at Regulation

Traffic flows along the northbound lanes of Interstate 380 as workers install speed cameras on a road sign north of the H Avenue NE interchange on Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2010, in northeast Cedar Rapids. (Jim Slosiarek/SourceMedia Group News)

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By Aaron Hepker

DES MOINES, Iowa — A vocal foe of traffic enforcement devices is dropping his legislative effort to ban them in favor of the proposed rules to require communities to document safety justifications before installing traffic cameras on state primary highways.

“It’s not going anywhere,” Rep. Walt Rogers, R-Cedar Falls, said about his bill, House File 334, which would ban traffic cameras and speed cameras.

He’s “OK” with the Department of Transportation rules that would require a six-part justification for the implementation, placement and use of automated traffic enforcement systems. The standards include provisions relating to motorist safety, signage and effectiveness.

DOT Director Paul Trombino believes the automated traffic enforcement systems should be used as a last resort after other safety measures have been exhausted, not to generate revenue for cities.

Those DOT rules will be on the agenda when the Administrative Rules Review Committee, which meets at 9 a.m. Friday in Room 116 of the Capitol.

However, a subcommittee of the House Transportation Committee will take up HF 2016, which would, for the most part, codify the DOT rules, at 8 a.m. Feb. 5.

Transportation Committee Chairman Josh Byrnes, R-Osage, said lawmakers believe the DOT is overstepping in trying to regulate the cameras through the rule-making process. “They’re legislating through rules,” Byrnes said. “That’s our job.”

He expects the full committee will discuss HF 2016 when it meets at 1 p.m. Thursday in Room 103. “I’m not a big fan,” Byrnes said about the traffic cameras, “but they’re here to stay, so we need uniformity from one end of the state to the other.”

Unlike Rogers, Sen. Brad Zaun, R-Urbandale, isn’t giving up the fight. He plans to attack traffic cameras through the amendment process.

The DOT rules are a “step in the right direction, but I won’t stop until (cameras) are banned,” Zaun said.

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