Gov. Quinn nearing decision on Chicago speed cameras.

January 6, 2012

Michell Eloy

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn said on Friday that he could make a decision by the end of January whether to sign a bill pushed by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel that permits speed cameras around some Chicago intersections.

The bill has been sitting on the governor's desk for the past few months after passing both the state House and Senate in November last year.

If approved, the bill would allow the city to use cameras to target speeders within one-eighth of a mile of city schools and parks, or so-called "safety zones." It would also permit vehicles with mounted cameras to patrol the same areas.

Quinn said he's still in the process of looking over the bill.

"We've done a lot of research on getting information from other cities and other states," said Quinn. "Anything I do I try to do in a comprehensive manor, and I think that's important on something like this."

The bill approved by the Senate allows cameras around schools to operate from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. on school days and from one hour before opening and after closing for parks. Under the proposal, motorists caught driving five miles above the speed limit near parks and schools could face a $100 dollar fine.

Mayor Emanuel lobbied hard for the bill last year, insisting the cameras are a necessary safety measure to slow down drivers rather than a move to collect revenue for the cash-strapped city. Emanuel has said all ticketing revenue would go toward funding for various school programs, citing after school programs and speed bumps as examples.

Department of Transportation officials said the cameras could begin tracking speeds as early as this summer, should the governor approve the measure.