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Red Light Delay

April 23rd, 2010 by Mike Vasilinda

A five-year quest to allow red light cameras on state roads is almost over. State lawmakers are closer to passing the legislation than ever before, but as Mike Vasilinda tells us, until lawmakers adjourn next Friday, nothing is certain.

Melissa Wandall entered the House Chamber on pins and needles. Fridaycould have been the day the Bradenton womans five year quest to get red light cameras installed on state roads ended, but it wasnt. Lawmakers delayed taking the bill up.

I promised my husband that I would take care of my family and that I would make a reason for what happened that night at the intersection,” Wandall said. “I keep my promises. Im not going to let the legislators up here keep me from doing that.

Melissa began the quest after her husband Mark was killed a block from their home. She was 9 months pregnant at the time.

Dozens of cities have installed the cameras at local intersections. One judge has ruled them unconstitutional, but the case is under appeal.

A legislative authorization would put the court case to an end at least going forward.

Legislative approval is looking more likely than ever. The difference this year, the state needs the money.

The cameras will raise almost a hundred million dollars for the state by the year by 2013.

Rep. Ron Reagan has championed the idea when few wanted to touch it.

I dont think there are very many people who have the passion that I do for this,” Reagan said. “You know, its great legislation. Ive worked on it for five years. Were at a point now where weve written it, I believe it makes sense. It works well in communities. And more importantly, it has uniform standards around the state.

Reagan leaves the legislature after the 2010 session, making this perhaps the last best year for red light cameras.

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