Traffic cameras have boomed in the Des Moines metro in recent years: from intersections along Hickman Road in Clive to parts of Interestate 235.
But that would end this summer if Urbandale State Sen. Brad Zaun has his way.
Automated traffic law enforcement cameras would be banned statewide, effective July 1, under a bill introduced in the Iowa Senate on Wednesday by Zaun, an Urbandale Republican, the Des Moines Register reports.
Zaun's bill would require the removal of existing traffic law enforcement camera systems including traffic cameras installed in Des Moines, Windsor Heights, Clive, Cedar Rapids and other Iowa cities.
“I have heard from more and more Iowans on this. I think my support for this is growing rather than shrinking,” Zaun told the Register. “Everywhere I go people are talking to me about this.”
Similar legislation was approved last year in the Republican-controlled Iowa house, but died in the Democratic-led Senate, where Zaun’s efforts to introduce an amendment banning automated traffic cameras was ruled out of order.
The newspaper says Zaun will face opposition in the Iowa Senate from Senate Majority Leader Michael Gronstal, D-Council Bluffs. Gronstal recently told reporters that city officials in Council Bluffs, which has had automated traffic cameras for several years, have shown him statistics that provide evidence of a dramatic reduction in traffic crashes and serious injuries as a result of the cameras.
Gov. Terry Branstad pledged last year to sign a ban on automated traffic cameras.
Although many city officials contend the only reason they support automated traffic cameras is public safety, Zaun told the Register he is skeptical. When he previously proposed capping fines for such violations at $50, the idea faced strong opposition from city officials.
“That tells me it is not 100 percent about public safety, but rather it is about generating revenue,” Zaun told the newspaper.
He also criticized Windsor Heights officials for suing the Iowa Department of Transportation for refusing to allow the city to install automated traffic cameras on Interstate Highway 235.