No Slowing Arizona Speed Camera Push
Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano's cabinet officials have made it clear that nothing will slow the planned deployment of speed cameras on freeways throughout the state -- not even the law. Arizona Department of Administration Director William Bell on Tuesday rejected the appeal filed by American Traffic Solutions (ATS) seeking to overturn the state's deal with Redflex to operate up to 200 cameras. In essence, ATS had objected that the state cannot enter into a law enforcement contract with lawbreakers. Bell disagreed. "The legislature mandated that DPS proceed with the photo enforcement project 'notwithstanding any other law,' and retroactively to the date three days after the signature by the governor," Bell wrote. "It is difficult to imagine a more emphatic statement by the legislature that it considered the photo enforcement project necessary for the health and safety of the public of Arizona." State legislators in June adopted the statewide photo enforcement provision which had been slipped into the state budget at the last minute (view law). The program was needed to close a budget gap by raising $165 million in what state documents refer to as "non tax increase revenue generation." Although state legislators can waive their own laws, ATS accused Redflex of violating federal law. In August, ATS sent a complaint to the Federal Communications Commission after it learned the Australian speed camera provider had used radar units that were not approved for use in the United States (view letter). Should ATS decide to challenge the department's ruling, the next step would be to file a court appeal, a move foreshadowed by the company's statement in its letter of appeal that it appeared "the Department of Administration has already made up its mind." Redflex considers the matter settled and issued a statement celebrating the ruling yesterday. "We are ready to serve the state with our advanced, certified technology and have desired for delays caused by contentious protests from the unsuccessful bidder to end so our work on this landmark safety initiative can begin," said Redflex Executive Director Karen Finley. Finley further celebrated by cashing in $704,602 worth of stock options in the Melbourne-based company. A copy of the ruling is available in a 95k PDF file at the source link below.
Source: Decision and Order Regarding Stay of Award (Arizona Department of Administration, 9/23/2008)