New Jersey drivers fought a long, difficult battle to get rid of red-light cameras in 2014 after a five-year pilot program yielded hundreds of thousands of violations and created a new revenue stream for dozens of municipalities. However, tucked away in the 1,039-page, $1 trillion dollar infrastructure bill President Joe Biden signed into law in November is millions in subsidies to companies that operate red-light and speed cameras in the U.S. The Infrastructure and Investment Jobs Act includes $13 billion in funding for roadway safety projects .

Pedestrian deaths have been steadily rising in nationwide over the last few years, and much of that money will go toward improving safety at intersections. New Jersey had the eighth highest pedestrian fatality rate in the nation, experiencing an increase in 2020 despite a sharp drop in traffic due to the pandemic.

Projects could include better lighting, new crosswalks and pedestrian overpasses or underpasses to make crossing safer. It may also include incentives for installing more red-light and speed cameras in more communities.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg is expected to publish the nation’s first-ever National Roadway Safety Strategy. So far, he’s been silent on the use of red-light cameras and data supporting their use as a safety device has been suspect.

Even if Buttigieg includes incentives for states and local governments to install cameras, there may not be much support in N.J.’s legislature to bring them back. There was bipartisan support to end the program, although efforts to permanently ban traffic cameras have stalled in recent years.

Legislation would be needed for them to return. The New Jersey Department of Transportation notes: “Municipalities no longer have the statutory authority to capture violations through automated enforcement. Without action from the Legislature, New Jersey’s Red Light Running (RLR) Automated Enforcement Pilot Program has ended.”

Source: 94.3 The Point

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