State Senate Clears Long Island Speed Cameras

speed-cameraOn Wednesday, the State Senate approved a bill that will allow as many as 125 school-zone speed cameras on Long Island. The bill was passed easily, 49-11, NY Daily News reports. According to Long Island Press, the state Senate voted to authorize 69 speed cameras in Suffolk County, 56 in Nassau County and 120 more in New York City, where 20 were installed the previous year. A spokesman said that Governor Andrew M. Cuomo will likely sign the bill soon.

Assembly Deputy Speaker Earlene Hooper (D-Helpstead) said that “Speed cameras will help keep drivers accountable for the safety of our children” and “will save lives and prevent families from suffering as a result of a tragic traffic-related fatality.” according to Long Island Press.

The registered owner of the speeding vehicle will be mailed a $50 fine when the cameras catch the violation. This is the same policy as the red-light cameras implemented in recent years on Long Island. Failure to pay will increase the fine by $25.

The speed-camera revenue is supposed to help fund the three-year wage freeze in Nassau County. The bill was passed days before the Nassau Interim Finance Authority (NIFA), the state board that controls county finances, is scheduled to discuss labor agreements that would end the wage freeze that was imposed in March 2011 and give union workers a raise retroactive April 1.

NIFA will meet Friday to consider approving Memorandums of Agreements with the Civil Service Employees Association, the Police Benevolent Association, the Detectives Association, and the Superior Officers Association (four of the five county unions).

Proponents of the bill said that it was a good safety measure. Senate co-leader Jeff Klein (D-Bronx), a sponsor of the bill in the Senate, said “The evidence is clear — when drivers know they might be caught, they slow down…need to make people think twice before they hit that accelerator in a school zone and these cameras will do exactly that.” Meanwhile, critics of the bill said that the expected revenue is overly optimistic. According to Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano, the county would receive $25 million or more annually from speed-camera revenue.

Jon Kaiman, chairmen of NIFA appointed by Cuomo, said that following the vote “the county is coming forward with revenue and savings that give me greater confidence that they can cover the costs.”

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