A bill to bring cameras to fight speeding in New York City has cleared a major hurdle in the State Assembly, which could clear the way for final passage of a bill that has stirred controversy and a fight with City Hall. NY1's Zack Fink filed the following report.
The speed camera bill would establish a pilot program near New York City public schools. Drivers who broke the speed limit would be automatically ticketed.
"If you get ticketed, it only goes, it doesn't go to points on your license because they can't prove that you were the driver, it's your car," said Assemblywoman Joan Millman of Brooklyn. "You pay a small fine, I think it's $50. And it really encourages people as they pass schools to slow down."
The bill is one of the top legislative priorities for Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the City Council. But things aren't always easy in Albany.
First, there was opposition from Republican Senator Martin Golden, who now seems willing to consider supporting the bill.
"If we can do it, I'd like to do it. But we want to make sure we get the right technology to do that," Golden said.
When asked if he would vote against it if it came up, he said, "No, I don't believe I would."
Senate co-leader Jeff Klein has now taken the lead on the bill. But while all eyes were on Golden and possible opposition in the state senate, it was quietly being bottled up in the assembly's Transportation Committee.
On Tuesday, the sometimes unpredictable Transportation Committee Chairman David Gantt, of Rochester, agreed to release the bill.
"Sure, I reported it out of committee," Gantt said. "I love the people of New York City, and I just hope that there are people who will get a few tickets."
Gantt agreed to let the bill pass after a five-year sunset provision was added.
"I have some concerns about the bill, but it's a five-year program, and we will deal with it when it comes back," he said.
The speed camera bill is expected to receive final passage on the last day of the legislative session, scheduled for Thursday. However, with so many outstanding issues, lawmakers concede that it may push into Friday.