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Iowa House panel votes to scoop 60% of revenue from local traffic cameras
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Iowa House panel votes to scoop 60% of revenue from local traffic cameras

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DES MOINES — Sioux City and other local governments would be allowed to install traffic cameras under legislation approved by an Iowa House committee Tuesday, but only if they share the revenue with the state.

“Probably the biggest difference of this bill is addressing the use of the dollars,” Public Safety Chairman Jarad Klein, R-Keota, said about House Study Bill 125. Cities would retain

40 percent of the revenue — after overhead costs are paid, he said.

“Sixty percent will come to the state level, where we direct it to the Department of Public Safety,” Klein said.

The bill, as amended, would require cities and counties to have public hearings before installing traffic cameras and to provide evidence of a safety need. Cameras would be located only in documented high-risk areas.

If they are in a fixed location, there must be signs advising drivers at least 500 feet, but no more than 1,000 feet, from the cameras. Citations must be reviewed by a law enforcement officer and records must be maintained for an annual report to the Legislature.

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Rep. Tim Kacena, D-Sioux City, told Klein to expect a couple of Democratic amendments when the bill is debated by the full House. He had questions about how the revenue from the cameras was being scooped. However, he supported the bill.

“I’m going to vote a ‘yes,’ ” Kacena said, but he didn’t advise Democratic colleagues how to vote. “Some people like cameras. Some people don’t. It’s just that simple.”

HSB 125 was approved 21-0.

According to Klein, Transportation Chairwoman Ashley Hinson, R-Marion, “signed off” on HSB 125, which started as a ban on traffic cameras. With his amendment, it is similar to her HSB 36.

Sioux City has used automated cameras since June 2009 for red-light enforcement at a handful of intersections and since May 2011 for speed enforcement along Interstate 29. The city partners with Redflex Traffic Systems Inc., a Arizona-based contractor, owns and maintains the cameras and collects a cut of each fine.

The city's six red-light cameras ticketed 6,906 vehicles in 2017, the lowest number since the cameras were installed in 2010. That was partially because of the reduction in cameras over the years.

The city has received nearly $18 million in revenue in its first eight years of traffic cameras. The city last year began using traffic camera money to pay for the its new Emergency Medical Services Division

Copyright 2019 The Sioux City Journal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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