Pa. Senate Approves Red-light Cameras in 19 Cities

A bill that would authorize 19 of Pennsylvania’s most-populated cities to install red-light cameras in an effort to improve traffic safety won approval from the state Senate on Tuesday.

Senators voted 35-14 to send the bill to the state House of Representatives.

The sponsor, Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, R-Delaware, cited an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety report that blamed red-light running for killing an estimated 676 people in 2009 and injuring another 113,000 across the United States.

“My legislation will make Pennsylvania roads safer, and it will save lives,” Pileggi said.

The cameras are already used in Philadelphia to nab red-light runners and traffic law violators.

Under the bill, Pittsburgh, Scranton, and 17 third-class cities with a minimum population of 18,000, including Erie, Allentown and Reading, could use the cameras if the state Transportation Department approves the city’s plan. Cities as small as New Castle, McKeesport and Johnstown, each of which has 20,000 to 25,000 residents, also would qualify.

The maximum fine of $100 would be earmarked for transportation improvements. Half of the money would go to the city where the violation occurred, although total collections in a city would be limited to 5 percent of its annual budget. The rest of the money would go to other areas of the state.

The Senate Transportation Committee last year approved a similar bill, but the chamber never voted on it.