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Artiles pushes for moratorium on red-light cameras

Rep. Frank Artiles is taking aim at red light cameras.

"If it's about safety, then let's make it about safety and remove the profits for the governments," he wrote on his Facebook wall Tuesday.

Artiles, a Miami Republican, is championing a bill that would put a moratorium on new cameras.

The bill would also slash the penalty from $158 to $83 by removing the $75 that goes to government agencies. (The money either goes to the county, municipality or state Department of Revenue, depending on which agency installed the red light camera.)

Municipalities would be able to impose a surcharge to fund existing cameras. But it would have to be discussed at a public hearing and approved by majority vote.

The language is included in PCB THSS 14-01, a much larger transportation bill being proposed by the House Transportation & Highway Safety Subcommittee.

Artiles sits on the committee.

Artiles said his staff crunched the numbers and determined that the cities of Miami and Tampa had collected an estimated $5.8 million and $2.8 million, respectively, in red-light camera revenue between 2012 and 2103.

"Cities make millions of dollars," he said. "It is wrong to use red light cameras to balance your budget."

Crusading against red light cameras is a popular thing to do in Miami-Dade County.

But Artiles can expect a good fight in Tallahassee. Supporters (who are well funded and represented in the Florida Capitol) say the cameras change driver behavior and can help reduce accidents at intersections. 

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