Illinois state Rep. Dan Ugaste (R-Geneva) on the House floor | repugaste.com
Illinois state Rep. Dan Ugaste (R-Geneva) takes a practical view when it comes to the debate about red-light cameras in Illinois.
“If they're truly in a spot and there’s a safety issue, and the State Department of Transportation or the federal Department of Transportation or some other major department has determined there’s a safety issue and adding a red-light camera could help, I have no problem with it,” Ugaste told the Kane County Record. “But if they’re solely done to generate revenue, we don’t need those.”
What’s certain is that Chicago now reigns as home to the most red-light cameras in the country with 309, or more than four times the average of the next three cities – New York, Philadelphia and Phoenix – with the most cameras.
Illinois state Sen. Martin Sandoval (D-Chicago)
“Knowing the way so many Illinois municipalities are struggling, that doesn’t surprise me,” Ugaste said.
Illinois Policy Institute reports that over the last decade the city has generated upward of $700 million in fines and tickets from the use of the devices, well over the comparatively modest $287 million that New York City has generated in the more than twice the time.
“Again, if they’re solely being put up because the municipality wants revenue, that shouldn’t occur,” Ugaste said.
Fueling the debate all the more, longtime state Sen. Martin Sandoval (D-Chicago) is under federal investigation over his dealing with SafeSpeed LLC, one of the city’s largest red-light camera operators. Sandoval, who up until recently served as chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, recently saw both his home and office raided by federal agents as part of a corruption investigation that includes his dealings with SafeSpeed.
In the wake of all the controversy, legislators in Springfield have recently filed two bills seeking to ban the use of red-light cameras across the state.