NJ Lawmaker Is Newly Suspicious About Red-Light Camera Program [AUDIO]
Like a dog with a bone he refuses to give up, Assemblyman Declan O'Scanlon continues to blast away at New Jersey's controversial red-light camera program.
He has uncovered some new information that can, at best be called suspicious. The red-light camera pilot program is set to expire December 16, 2014 but, according to O'Scanlon's research, many of the municipal contracts for the cameras extend far beyond that date.
Through the Open Public Records Act, O'Scanlon's office has obtained the red-light camera contracts for 24 of the participating municipalities.
He explains, "I was very disappointed to see that 11 of the 24 contracts extend beyond the close of the pilot program. The municipal officials in these municipalities are quick to hold motorists to the strict letter of the law, yet many of them seem to be ignoring the pilot program statute."
The law signed on January 13, 2008, required the New Jersey Department of Transportation to establish a five year pilot program to determine the effectiveness of the installation and utilization of traffic control signal monitoring systems in New Jersey. The pilot program officially began December 16, 2009.
O'Scanlon says, "These towns knew that the program terminates in 2014, so why did they contract beyond that? Why did the camera companies who know should know these statutes inside and out enter into contracts that don't acknowledge the firm end date of the program? Is this a preemptive, back door way to ultimately push for the program to be extended? That ain't gonna happen."
The Assemblyman says many of the contracts extend months beyond the pilot program's deadline, one town's contract goes into 2016. O'Scanlon has spoken with the non-partisan Office of Legislative Services and they have issued an opinion that clearly lays out the termination date of the program and the mandate that ticketing cease upon that date.
He points out that the first annual report on the program clearly acknowledges the end date and he has confirmation of that directly from DOT.
"There is no wiggle room in the length of this program which has been fraught with issues from the start and the bane of motorists across New Jersey," contends O'Scanlon. "Ticketing will stop on December 16, 2014…A town that continues to ticket past the termination date will be in violation of the law and I will be watching closely to ensure that not a single ticket is wrongfully issued, we must treat our drivers fairly."
O'Scanlon is sending every town involved in the red light camera pilot program a memo asking them about the contracts they've signed.