Funding Missouri Schools with Red Light Cameras

Rebecca May, KMOX Capitol Bureau

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMOX) – Senators pushed back a vote Wednesday on a bill that would take revenue from photo verification camera fines and give it to  Missouri public schools.

An extended debate on another issue, forced Sen. Will Kraus, R-Jackson County, to move his bill to the informal calendar.

Kraus introduced the bill last month, but it was brought up for a  second reading during a Governmental Accountability Committee hearing  Wednesday.

Traffic fines currently go to the city and Gatso, the traffic light  installation company.  One third of the money goes to Gatso, while the  other two-thirds is given to the city where the violation happened.   Missouri charges $120 for traffic camera violations.  In 2011, Gatso  received $54,076 from Columbia.  After police personnel, court and  prosecution costs, the City of Columbia received $18,047 in 2011.

Kraus said safety is not the issue to the opposition, but losing  revenue for the opposition’s district.  The bill’s sponsor continued  saying all of the Senators in opposition are from regions where red light cameras bring in a large sum of money to their area, and this bill  would take it away.

“Don’t put in speed cameras or red light cameras to raise revenue.   It’s a hidden form of revenue that I think is unconstitutional and  unfair,” said Kraus.

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  • James C. Walker

    Red light and speed cameras are about MONEY, not safety. The correct action is to ban them entirely. Ticket cameras produce significant revenues ONLY when the posted speed limits and the yellow light intervals are deliberately and maliciously done improperly so the cameras will issue more tickets — at the cost of reduced safety for all road users.
    The scam of ticket cameras needs to be banned entirely so that engineers will be forced to engineer for safety, NOT for revenue. See the science on our website for both types of predatory revenue cameras. James C. Walker, National Motorists Association,, Ann Arbor, MI

  • Gene Ralno

    Will they offset school taxes by the amount of red light revenue? (crickets) That’s what I thought/

  • stlmom4

    I like the cameras and have seen them reduce the number of lights run AND the bad accidents they created greatly decrease; the stats bear this out nationally also and there aren’t many repeat offenders caught by the cameras. The issue here is that the largest income is during the early months of the camera’s placement. The funds can be used for schools but it will not be a reliable stream of funding. Addiction to camera funds will backfire just as the casino money has. These funds should be ADDITIONAL, not replacing the regular school funding.

  • James C. Walker

    1) The stats bear out that red light violations are reduced MORE by longer yellows than with cameras, and people who stop for the red lights NEVER cause angle or t-bone crashes in the intersections. Cameras are about money, not safety.
    2) Cities DO get addicted to the revenue and so would the school system. It would require keeping the bad engineering with too-short yellows forever.
    Jim Walker, NMA

  • Brian Ceccarelli

    Will Kraus needs to see

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