More speed cameras are coming to New York City and Long Island after state lawmakers voted Wednesday to authorize more than 200 of the devices in area school zones.
The measure would allow up to 69 cameras near schools in Suffolk County and 56 in Nassau County. New York City already has 20 of the cameras and could get up to 120 more.
The devices are a critical component of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's campaign to reduce traffic fatalities. The technology will also raise millions of dollars of new revenue for local governments, which is especially welcome in cash-strapped Nassau County.
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The cameras would operate during and immediately before and after school activities. Speeders caught by the cameras would be mailed a $50 ticket.
"We have an obligation to protect our children's safety — and these additional speed cameras will play a key role in our efforts," de Blasio said in a statement following the bill's passage on Wednesday. "... Speed cameras will serve as powerful reminders to drivers across the five boroughs that speeding will not be tolerated on our city's streets."
The Senate passed the measure 49-11, two days after the House endorsed the bill. Gov. Andrew Cuomo supports the legislation and is expected to sign it into law soon.
Senate co-leader Jeff Klein, a Democrat who represents a portion of the Bronx, said the cameras will force speeders to "think twice before hitting the accelerator."
"Students should not have to dodge death every day on their walk to school," he said.
As in the Assembly, some members of the Senate objected to what they called the troubling precedent of using cameras to enforce laws.
"I have a philosophical problem," said Sen. John DeFrancisco, a Syracuse Republican who noted that cameras are used to spy on the populace in George Orwell's dystopian novel "1984." ''I never thought it would ever happen in my lifetime.
In Nassau County the devices are expected to raise as much as $50 million or more — money that officials expect to use to help lift a wage freeze on county workers. The county has been under a state-imposed financial authority for more than a decade.
Suffolk County officials estimated this year that 20 speed cameras would raise $2 million a year.