Todd Taylor

Todd Taylor

Iowa cities with traffic enforcement cameras would be required to disclose on the tickets how the money from the fines is spent if a bill to be considered by the House Transportation Committee becomes law. Representative Todd Taylor lives in Cedar Rapids, where traffic cameras were installed along Interstate 380 five years ago, and he’s co-sponsoring the bill.

“I just want it disclosed how much goes to the city, how much goes to the vendor,” Taylor says.

The companies that installed the traffic cameras in Iowa are paid millions for employing people to monitor video and issue tickets to speeders and those who run red lights. Taylor suspects if those paying the fines realized how much the vendors are getting, city officials might be pressured to strike deals that devote more of the money to the city.

“I just want it to be disclosed,” Taylor says. “Where does it go?”

Representative Walt Rogers, a Republican from Cedar Falls, is a vocal opponent of traffic cameras in general and he’s the bill’s other co-sponsor.

“There’s obviously a lot of tickets being issued,” Rogers says. “…The average (member of the) public is out there and they get a ticket, they say, ‘Oh, I’ll just pay it,’ but if there’s a chance to look at the ticket and see, ‘Oh, this money’s going here and there,’ that might raise a little more awareness and consternation about what’s happening.”

Rogers says that kind of “education” about traffic cameras could eventually build more public outrage about traffic cameras and, ultimately, lead to passage of legislation that would ban the cameras. Bills to ban traffic cameras have stalled in the Iowa legislature for the past several years and this is the only bill eligible for debate in 2014 that deals with the subject.