And while I believe I've made valid arguments, both here and on WSPD when I was doing Eye On Toledo, to support my position - including quoting from the national Traffic Safety Board - nothing quite says it all as this quote from Barnet Fagel, a a traffic researcher and a highway safety advocate with motorist advocacy group the National Motorists Association:
“There’s no need for cameras if intersections are safe,” explains Fagel. “Cameras document traffic engineering errors. They don’t prevent collisions, they only record them.”
“If an intersection is properly engineered you don’t need cameras. I feel as long as intersections are inherently unsafe they will be profitable for the camera company and the village.”
It's what I said originally, but here's an 'expert' saying the exact same thing.
Toledo never did a traffic engineering study on any of the intersections they claimed were so unsafe that they needed red-light cameras. They did not attempt to determine the cause of the claimed safety issues in order to determine what the best solution would be. Nor did they try any of the recommended solutions (longer yellow lights, all red lights in every direction prior to the next scheduled green light, etc...) to see if a non-big-brother type of change would work.
Since they didn't actually try to address any of the claimed safety issues, many conclude (rightly, in my opinion) that the issue really isn't safety, but money. And with Toledo routinely trying to get more of a percentage of the fine money as well as increasing the fine amount, it's hard to deny.
So what we have is a company going around trying to sell jurisdictions on their product and promising a share of the proceeds if the politicians will buy into the deal. Toledo is, in effect, partnering with a private company to make profits for the company, at taxpayer expense, and then being bought off by that private company for a kickback of a marginal share of those profits. How does this not violate Article 8 of the Ohio Constitution:
O Const VIII Sec. 6 Political subdivisions to avoid financial involvement with private enterprise; mutual insurance exception
No laws shall be passed authorizing any county, city, town or township, by vote of its citizens, or otherwise, to become a stockholder in any joint stock company, corporation, or association whatever; or to raise money for, or to loan its credit to, or in aid of, any such company, corporation, or association: provided, that nothing in this section shall prevent the insuring of public buildings or property in mutual insurance associations or companies. Laws may be passed providing for the regulation of all rates charged or to be charged by any insurance company, corporation or association organized under the laws of this state, or doing any insurance business in this state for profit.
Even if you're a fan of the cameras, you should oppose them if they violate our state Constitution. If Toledo can enter this type of arrangement, what else can they do? The slippery-slope argument is certainly a valid one in Toledo, especially considering that they started with red-light cameras and then added the speed cameras when revenue began to decline.
Now all we need is a constitutional legal challenge to these arrangements.