CHICAGO — The battle over Chicago’s speed cameras is accelerating.
On Tuesday, the City Council’s Finance Committee voted, 16 to 15, to reset Mayor Lightfoot’s speed camera ticket threshold from 6 miles per hour back to 10 miles per hour. The rollback was introduced by Ald. Anthony Beale and the final vote is set for Wednesday.
If the measure does passes we could see Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s first veto. The mayor released a statement calling out those who support the measure and said the change was not responsible governing and she would not let the city council jeopardize public health.
Lightfoot’s full statement:
“Today, by a 16 to 15 vote, the City Council Committee on Finance voted to sanction higher speeds around schools and parks, when it seems that every day there is another traffic fatality because of speeding and reckless drivers. It is simply unconscionable that, after losing 173 Chicagoans to speed-related traffic fatalities in 2021, some Aldermen are acting with so little regard for public safety. By state law, the revenues generated by these fines help pay for public safety, infrastructure, after-school programming in parks and schools, Safe Passage workers, and many more vital programs.”
CDOT Commissioner Gia Biagi said that goes up to 80% chance of dying when a car is going 40 miles per hour.
“So at 20 mph, if you get hit by a car, your risk of death is 10%, so you have a 90% chance of surviving. When you hit around 30 mph, you get a 40% chance of death,” she said.
The city could be out $40 to 45 million in revenue if the rollback is finalized.
Some aldermen who supported the rollback said the fines hurt low-income residents the most.
“We cannot say we are not balancing the budget on the backs of the people, particularly the backs of the brown and black people, because that’s where the data shows.” Ald. Leslie Hairston said.