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A Republican member of Congress introduced legislation that would prohibit the District from using traffic-enforcement cameras on its streets. The bill, introduced by outgoing Rep. Steve Stockman of Texas, would also withhold 10 percent of some federal highway funds to any state or municipality that uses these speed and red-light cameras on federal roads.
Outgoing Rep. Kerry Bentivolio of Michigan is listed as a co-sponsor.
Bentivolio, who City Desk has reported does not own a car in the District, drafted similar legislation last year. His legislation only outlawed the cameras in the District and did not try to withhold federal highway funds from other jurisdictions. According to Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton—-who issued a statement condemning the legislation—-Bentivolio opted not to introduce his legislation after Norton told him he was interfering with District affairs.
Norton wrote in a statement last week:
These two Members, on their way out of Congress, have turned their focus away from their own constituents, So, free from accountability to their own residents, they are making a last ditch attempt to secure a legacy on the backs of District of Columbia residents. We would have thought that Republicans would be the first, not the last, to acknowledge that traffic laws are a classic local public safety matter. These two members, who profess to support federalism and local control of local affairs, have left their principles behind. Whatever one’s views on the merits of traffic cameras, D.C.’s use of them is a quintessential local matter for the local elected government to decide, and not for the big foot of the federal government.”
The District has been rapidly installing new cameras throughout the city and, in 2013, the cameras brought in a whopping $171 million to city coffers.
In the past year, Republican officials in Congress have made high-profile attempts to derail the District’s gun and marijuana laws—-none of which have been successful.
Read the text of the “Safer American Streets Act” below:
Photo by Dcmetroblogger via Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0