Despite strong bipartisan approval among Colorado lawmakers, Gov. John Hickenlooper has vetoed two bills aimed at reining in the use of remote controlled cameras that catch motorists running red lights.
One of the bills banned all traffic cameras outright. The other required local governments seek their voters’ approval in order to use them. But Hickenlooper said in his veto letter that the cameras are an important tool for public safety.
"Speeding and disregard for traffic signals are a danger for all drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians. These actions have very real, at times fatal, consequences," the governor said. “Unfortunately, these bills go too far.”
Camera opponents argue the technology does not decrease accidents and instead just generates revenue for local governments. House Republicans and Senate Democrats both released statements critical of the governor's veto.
"There is no objective evidence these cameras improve public safety, but we are well aware of the millions of dollars they generate from drivers," said Rep. Steve Humphrey, R-Severance, who co-sponsored the bill to ban the cameras outright.
“I am disappointed in the vetoes," said Sen. Morgan Carroll, the Senate Democratic leader. "Putting police at intersections, rather than collecting and storing data indefinitely, would be safer and prevent more accidents."
On the other side, Colorado Municipal League Executive Director Sam Mamet said he welcomed the veto because it keeps "an important public safety decision in the hands of elected officials who best know their community. A city council is the proper forum to decide issues of local neighborhood traffic safety enforcement."
Hickenlooper is urging lawmakers to send him a bill next year restricting traffic cameras to just school zones, construction areas, and places with historically high accident rates.
You are one of the CPR readers who wants to know what is really going on these days. We can help you keep up - The Lookout is a free, daily email newsletter with news and happenings from all over Colorado. Sign up here and we will see you in the morning!