As you may already be aware, an amendment to the Iowa Constitution that would ban automated traffic law enforcement was introduced in the Iowa House last week. The amendment refers to the red light and speed cameras that have increasingly been popping up in our state, and is a reflection of the growing concerns related to them.
As a candidate to represent the residents of Ankeny and the surrounding areas, I feel it my responsibility to keep you informed of my positions on the issues that the Legislature is, and will be, dealing with.
I whole-heartedly support the spirit in which this amendment was offered and I am strongly opposed to the notion of "automated traffic law enforcement." While supporting the spirit of the amendment my belief is that this issue can be sufficiently addressed through legislation, thus avoiding the long and harder-to-achieve step of amending our Constitution.
Though proponents often cite public safety as a justification, I join many citizens and public officials who suspect the motivation behind these cameras has more to do with generating revenue than increasing our safety.
Indeed what has already resulted is a revenue stream that several Iowa legislators have begun clamoring for. In just the first week of this session multiple bills have been introduced attempting to steer these new dollars into everything from the property tax relief fund to secondary road maintenance.
If safety is an issue at selected intersections there are several non-controversial, common sense solutions that can be implemented. Chief among these is simply increasing the duration of the yellow lights by one second, which studies have shown dramatically reduces the number of violations and crashes. This approach would be acceptable to Iowans--the current approach is not.
The concept of using video surveillance to issue expensive citations to Iowans through the mail is a dangerous trend that needs to be halted now. I look forward to the proposal that is soon to be introduced by Walt Rogers (R-Cedar Falls) that will end this practice through legislation. After a careful reading, I anticipate being able to fully support this effort.