The Iowa Department of Transportation issued a statement following today’s ruling by the Supreme Court that the DOT does not have the authority to regulate traffic cameras.
The statement says the DOT will “respect and uphold” the court’s decision and Cedar Rapids, Des Moines, and Muscatine may immediately resume operation of the cameras if they chose to do so. Sioux City had previously taken the Department of Transportation to court over the traffic cameras and Mayor Bob Scott is pleased with the ruling.
“We thought that the rules were not put in place correctly and I think the decision — although we were criticized for challenging them by a lot of people — I think this decision reaffirms that we were correct,” Scott says. “Long story short, the legislature’s going to have the last work. I hope there is some common sense there.”
Scott hopes that the state legislature, cities and the DOT can now work out an effective partnership for using the cameras. He says he is not a big fan of traffic cameras, but he believes they do change behavior in certain places. “So I hope somehow through this decision the legislature can find a middle ground, I hope the DOT can find a middle ground, I hope the cities can find a middle ground and we can work together instead of being in an adversarial role, because I don’t think that serves the public very well,” according to Scott.
The cities had sought the judicial review in 2015 after the DOT had ordered some speed cameras turned off, stating that the cameras did not make interstate highways safer. Governor Kim Reynolds’ office released a statement saying “The governor supports limitations on automated traffic enforcement cameras and would support the legislature acting on this matter before the session ends.”
(By Woody Gottburg, KSCJ, Sioux City)