Red light cameras could be coming to Tampa

Both local dailies report today that city of Tampa officials are studying the effectiveness of using red light cameras at certain intersections.

Hillsborough County Commissioners approved the concept a year and a half ago, and according to the Tampa Tribune, the first ones are set to be turned on this Friday at the corner of Dale Mabry Highway and Waters Avenue.

Ultimately, there will be 10 such camera installations throughout the County.

Proponents argue that only are such cameras beneficial to public safety, but they also bring in cash in a recessionary time.  Although proponents generally argue they're not doing it for the money, one has to appreciate the candor of Tampa City Council Chairman Thomas Scott, who told the Trib, "We're in a tight budget crunch.  I'd be interested in hearing the proposal."

The Florida Legislature came close to approving a state law mandating such cameras, but it failed in the closing days of this year's session.  However, there are all indications that it will brought back in 2010.

During the Democratic Attorney General debate earlier this month, State Senator Dave Aronberg criticized the proposal that was floated this year in the legislature, calling it " motivated by profit."  He also said that he had 'serious' civil-liberty concerns about the idea.

Previously, the ACLU has gone to court arguing that same thing, and won in the Minnesota Supreme Court.

And several states have laws that ban them outright.

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