Denied in budget deal, Assembly bill revives New York City’s plea for speed cameras
Mayor Bill de Blasio said he’s confident that the city will eventually receive the money and approval needed to implement a key part of his administration’s traffic safety program.
De Blasio affirmed on Monday that he unfazed by the state budget’s lack of a commitment for speed cameras in the state’s latest compromise, instead counting on a new bill that would fulfill a key part of the mayor’s plan.
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver introduced legislation to approve 140 new speed cameras in school zones around the five boroughs, as well as 125 cameras between Nassau and Suffolk counties. All cameras, including speeding and red light cameras, require state approval, as does any reduction to the city’s speed limit.
Advocates and lawmakers hoped to pay for at least the cameras through the state budget, which the legislature and governor have until Tuesday to approve.
De Blasio told reporters the discussion was still “on the table” thanks to Silver’s bill.
“It’s not fully figured out yet, but I’m convinced we’re going to get something substantial done there,” de Blasio said on Monday.
De Blasio argued that the cameras are only one component of the larger Vision Zero policy plan to drastically reduce pedestrian deaths. In the first two weeks of the existing speed camera program — approved in Albany last year — the New York Post reported that the city caught 900 speeding around city schools.
“There’s a lot of pieces to Vision Zero,” he said. “We need them all to take place and all to come together, and it’s going to take time to do that right.”
Manhattan City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, who chairs the Council’s transportation committee, said in a statement that he was discouraged by the “petty politics played with the lives of New Yorkers” but nonetheless grateful for the new bill.
“I am encouraged by Speaker Silver’s introduction of legislation to expand this program following the failure to put it in the budget and I hope the Senate can take the necessary action to see it through,” Rodriguez added, promising to bolster the broader Vision Zero plans in the Council.
Follow Chester Jesus Soria on Twitter @chestersoria