Biden's New Infrastructure Law Gives States Billions For Speed Cameras

States can now access billions for speed cameras under Biden's infrastructure law

Federal guidance issued Wednesday states that billions of dollars allocated to highway and roadway safety can now go toward installing automated traffic enforcement, such as speed and red-light cameras.

The allocated funds come from President Biden’s infrastructure law.

The decision to open the funding toward automated traffic enforcement aims to curb the recent increases in traffic-related deaths.

Roadways in the U.S. could receive an influx in speed cameras, thanks to new funds from President Biden’s infrastructure law. 

Federal guidance issued Wednesday states that billions of dollars allocated to highway and roadway safety can now go toward installing automated traffic enforcement, such as speed and red-light cameras.  

Previously, transportation funds allocated to states were largely limited to fund projects such as reinforcing bridges and roadways, with federal funds for speed cameras only permitted for school zones. However, Biden’s infrastructure law allows states to utilize up to 10 percent of their $15.6 billion highway safety funds, distributed over five years, on “non-infrastructure programs” such as automated traffic enforcement and public awareness campaigns. 

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The decision to open the funding toward automated traffic enforcement aims to curb the recent increases in traffic-related deaths.   

“Almost 95 percent of our Nation’s transportation deaths occur on America’s streets, roads, and highways, and they are on the rise,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in the National Roadway Safety Strategy release. “An estimated 38,680 people died in motor vehicle crashes in 2020. In the first half of 2021, an estimated 20,160 people died, up 18.4 percent compared to the first six months of 2020.”  

Critics have countered that the cameras can be inaccurate and act as more of a source of revenue for communities rather than a speeding deterrent. In fiscal year 2020, Washington, D.C., brought in about $148 million in traffic fines, a majority of which came from speed and red-light cameras, even amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to Washington Business Journal. An analysis even found that D.C. issued more fines than any U.S. city. 

“Speeding increases both the frequency and severity of crashes, yet it is both persistent and largely accepted as the norm amongst the traveling public,” according to the Transportation Department’s National Roadway Safety Strategy. “Automated speed enforcement, if deployed equitably and applied appropriately to roads with the greatest risk of harm due to speeding, can provide significant safety benefits and save lives.” 

TheHill.com

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