3/12/2019Ohio House Votes To Withhold Speed Camera Cash
House-passed Ohio transportation funding bill would withhold some state cash from big cities that use speed cameras.
The Ohio state House of Representatives on Thursday voted 71 to 27 to approve a broad package of transportation measures designed, among other things, to discourage some use of speed cameras. The measure, which has yet to be considered in the state Senate, replaces administrative hearings for photo tickets with trials that would be heard in an actual court, with the locality footing the bill for the court fees in advance.
Similar language was introduced last year by House Majority Leader Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati), though it never made it into law despite overwhelming House passage. Under his revised proposal, municipalities using cameras would still have to file an annual report to the state tax commissioner documenting how much cash the town's private photo ticketing vendor has collected from motorists. The state would then deduct that amount from state aid payments to the city or town and direct the cash to a state fund dedicated to "enhance public safety" on roads and highways, except the revised measure exempts speed camera tickets from the revenue total if they are issued near a "school zone." The bill also prohibits townships from setting up camera traps on interstates.
The measure would have no practical effect on small town speed traps. Newburgh Heights, for instance, has a population of 2167, yet it made $1 million a year from speed camera fines, but the town is only scheduled to receive $61,263 in state aid. Likewise, Brice risks losing $9969 if it keeps the photo ticketing program that has brought in $1.8 million in profit. Larger cities like Toledo, however, risk losing $2.3 million out of a $7.6 million aid payment.
The transportation package passed last week also includes a 10.7 cent increase in the gas tax. It lets the Ohio Department of Transportation selectively lower the speed limit on any highway in the state by installing electronic speed limit signs.
The bill also includes a few pro-motorist provisions. The legislation would add Ohio to the list of nineteen states that have done away with the need to install a front license plate. If enacted, motorcyclists would no longer be cited for wearing earplugs to protect their hearing while riding.
A copy of the transportation bill is available in a 1mb PDF file at the source link below.