Gov. Janet Napolitano on Wednesday brushed off criticism of her plan to deploy automated speed enforcement cameras on Arizona highways, saying it makes sense both for public safety and to pay for important state spending.
Besides, Napolitano said, “if you don’t want to pay, don’t speed.”
The Democratic governor’s comments to reporters came a day after a Senate committee endorsed both a Republican bill barring use of photo enforcement on state highways and a resolution to put a ban on the November ballot for voters to decide.
GOP lawmakers said Tuesday that they questioned the fairness of photo enforcement and that they regarded Napolitano’s plan as merely a revenue-enhancer at a time when the state is short on cash.
Citing reduced speed and accident rates on a Scottsdale stretch of the Loop 101 freeway monitored by cameras, Napolitano a year ago ordered the Department of Public Safety to start planning a statewide program.
The department in January formally requested proposals from companies that could provide and operate up to 170 speed and red-light cameras, and Napolitano said included $90 million in anticipated revenue in her proposed budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1.
Napolitano said Wednesday she would have included speed enforcement in her budget for public safety reasons to augment the Highway Patrol’s officers, regardless of the state’s current fiscal troubles.
“Now, it’s in the budget and I just connect people to this thought, which is to say, look, you can either have a budget that protects speeders or you can have a budget that protects education, that allows us to keep adding DPS officers and (Child Protective Services) case managers,” she said.
“These are all choices that have to be made, but the plain fact of the matter is from a public safety perspective, that the photo radar has proven to be a technology that actually helps road safety and we would have proposed this irrespective of the downturn in revenue numbers.”
On the Net:
Gov. Janet Napolitano: http://www.governor.state.az.us/
Arizona Legislature: http://www.azleg.gov.
Department of Public Safety: http://www.dps.state.az.us/