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An Honest Politician in Lubbock, Texas

There are frequent news stories about the money that D.C. government rakes in from their red-light cameras. The stories will quote some politician or another as saying they’re just doing it for public safety reasons. In Arlington and other Virginia localities, red-light cameras will be soon become a fixture as the 2007 General Assembly recently passed HB 1778. And never fear, every member of Arlington’s General Assembly delegation supported the bill.

But back to the honest politician. According to this news account, the city of Lubbock, Texas has instituted a freeze on new hiring because of red light cameras. City officials were counting on $1.5 million that would be produced by the cameras based upon a “short yellow light” timing. When that was exposed by a local TV station, they learned the re-timed lights would produce fewer traffic citations. A city councilman explained:

"It is all about the money . . . It wasn’t until we tried to sell the idea to the public that we started talking about public safety.”

 As proof that it's all about the money, the Virginia Senate rejected an amendment to HB 1778 by Sen. Ken Cuccinelli (R) that the "yellow phase" be no less than 5.5 seconds, which apparently exceeds recommendations of the Institute of Transportation Engineers. The Virginian Pilot has this story on the impact in Virginia Beach.

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