Speed zone cameras move to House vote

November 8, 2011

(Flickr/Kevin Liuzzo)
Mayor Rahm Emanuel has been pushing hard for the cameras for Chicago's cash-strapped city government.

A controversial bill that would place speed cameras around Chicago school zones is heading to the Illinois House for a full vote.

State Rep. Dan Burke (D-Chicago) chairs the committee that voted Tuesday morning to send the bill to the full House. He said he wants the cameras because they make school zones safer.

"Those who raise the argument that it is strictly an effort to raise revenues for the city, they might have a legitimate argument there," Burke admitted. But Burke says the safety of kids trumps any concerns over why they are being introduced. He says he hopes the cameras are used to catch any other illegal activity in view, and that he'd like to see a camera on every corner.

The bill would apply a speed zone to an 1/8th mile area around every Chicago school except for colleges and universities. Drivers caught going five or more miles per hour over the posted speed limit would face a $100 fine. The cameras would be in operation from 6am-8:30pm on school days.

Discussions continue over how the funds collected from cameras would be used. One option is to use a portion of it to fund after school programs and traffic safety.

The bill has passed the state Senate already. Burke says the bill could be up for a final vote in the House as early as Wednesday.