HONOLULU -- Momentum is building at the state Capitol to bring back speed enforcement cameras that stirred controversy several years ago.
Supporters of cameras for both red light and speed enforcement said they have learned their lesson. They have also picked up more support, mostly by letting county police departments manage them and having the ticket money pay for the program.
The state's rush to speed enforcement vans in 2002 was a legal and public relations fiasco, giving the cameras a bad name to this day. Even safe drivers are divided.
"As a driver, it seems a bit intrusive to have cameras looking at you all the time. I'd rather have police officers enforcing it," Mililani resident Jeff Lyons said.
"I think people driving unsafely should be off the road and I don't care how they catch them. The vans don't bother me at all," Kailua resident Mel Hertz said.
Since the van-cams were withdrawn, a lot has changed. The new Honolulu police chief, the governor and Honolulu's mayor, now support the speed cameras as long as it doesn't cost the city money.
"The state not only has to give us monies to start the system. They also have to give us money to maintain the system," Mayor Mufi Hannemann said.
The House transportation chairman is proposing that scenario for both red light and speeding cameras.
"Because we've been having increasing deaths with pedestrians," Rep. Joe Souki said.
The state Senate has blocked traffic camera legislation in the past, but supporters said they are hoping the new leadership there will have an open mind this year
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