Suffolk County Red Light Cameras Are Here For Another Five Years
Thursday, September 5, 2019 at 7:24PM
.

By P. Biancaniello

Red-light cameras (RLC) in Suffolk County are here to stay - at least for the next five years. After hours of discussion with almost thirty members of the public stating their opposition to the program, legislators voted 11-7 to renew the contract with modifications. Legislators voted along party lines. Democrats citing safety supported the extension. Republican legislators citing safety and calling it a money grab opposed the renewal. 

Legislator Rob Trotta Sept. 4 discussion about red light camerasAccording to Hector Gavilla, an opponent of the RLC program and candidate for legislator in the 16th L.D.,the breakdown of camera placement is Brookhaven 38, Islip 24, Babylon 19, Huntington 15 and Smithtown 4.

Martin Buchman a member of NYS Bicyclist Coalition spoke in favor of the program saying that bicylists have a deadly fear of someone running a red light.  He urged legislators to keep the program and to ensure equity in distribution of cameras. 

Smithtown legislators Kennedy 12 L.D. and Trotta 13 L.D. voted against renewing the program. Legislator Trotta has been in the forefront of the movement to rid the county of the cameras, he claims the program is about revenue and has accused the Bellone administration of initiating the program to cover budget short falls. Red-light cameras have generated more than $25 million in revenue for the county. 

At a 2017 press event in Miller Place, at a site where two teens died in separate incidents, Trotta accused the county of improperly reporting statistics at intersections with cameras. The county through a spokesperson denied the allegation stating that the engineering firm Nelson and Pope was not instructed to exclude pedestrian and bicycle data and includes information not required by law.  

Suffolk County Committee Chairman Jesse Garcia in a statement issued to the press said, “Make no mistake - this is about shoring up the county’s failing finances. They should be called red-ink cameras because their real purpose is to prevent debt, not deaths.” 

Many of the speakers opposed the disproportionate number of cameras placed in poorer districts where fines and fees create economic hardship. Currently there is a $15 administrative fee in addition to a $50 fine late fees are added if fee is not paid on time. The approval of the contract renewal came with a commitment to look at the placement of the cameras as well as a payment plan.

Jason Elon, spokesperson for the Bellone administration referring to a proposed resolution supported by Republican legislators issued the following statement, “The same Minority Caucus that complained about red light camera fees is now introducing legislation to impose fees and ticket motorists with cameras on school buses.  Two-faced Rob Trotta and his band of conspiracy theorists should pick a side – and ours is on the side of public safety.”

 

Article originally appeared on Smithtown Matters - Online Local News about Smithtown, Kings Park, St James, Nesconset, Commack, Hauppauge, Ft. Salonga (http://www.smithtownmatters.com/).
See website for complete article licensing information.