May 31, 2009
Red light camera ban appears dead

So says the Star-Telegram, which has been the go-to source for these stories.

A final version of legislation restructuring the Texas Department of Transportation is not expected to include a ban on red-light cameras or a local option provision allowing county elections to raise money for road and rail projects, lawmakers said Saturday.

Members of a joint conference committee reconciling differences between the House and Senate versions of the transportation department bill are under a midnight deadline to release their report. Sen. Glenn Hegar Jr., R-Katy, the chief Senate negotiator, told the Star-Telegram that neither the local option provision or the red-light camera ban are likely to be in the final bill.

Asked if the local option provsion, strongly opposed by House negotiators, will be in the conference committee legislation, Hegar replied: "I don't see how it does."

He added: "I would assume there will be no ban on red light cameras, and then that the way the bill would focus on TxDOT and nothing more, nothing less."


[Rep. Gary] Elkins acknowledged that his red-light camera ban apparently was out of the bill. He said his amendment "was being held hostage" during the conference committee deliberations, with a possible swap in which the Senate would agree to take the House-passed red-light camera ban in exchange for House acceptance of local option.

"My understanding right now is the House is not going to get its will on red-light cameras and the Senate is not going to get its will on the local option tax," he said.

It's also possible that HB300 won't be able to pass - among other things, Sen. John Carona may filibuster it over its lack of a local-option provision - or if it does pass, Governor Perry, who not unreasonably thinks the whole thing has turned into a monstrosity, may veto it. In which case, the red light cameras will live on, since there would be no legislation to pass that would kill them. At this point, I'd say they're in decent shape, though as always it ain't over till it's over. Hope all those contracts with camera vendors that got extended for however long don't come back to bite anyone. EoW has more on the status of HB300 and the local option tax.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on May 31, 2009 to Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
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