8/4/2022Photo Radar Opponents Sweep Arizona GOP Primary
Political change in Arizona could mean trouble for the companies that operate red light cameras and speed cameras in the state.
By Richard Diamond
Voters in the Arizona Republican primary on Tuesday chose a slate of statewide candidates committed to ending the use of speed cameras and red light cameras in the state. At the top of the ticket, Kari Lake has made eliminating photo enforcement a top campaign priority. With 97 percent of the vote counted, she is set to be the Republican nominee against Democrat Katie Hobbs in the November 8 general election for governor.
"Red light cameras have been scamming Arizonans for decades," Lake tweeted on Monday. "They are tax systems, not safety systems. If you make me your next governor, I will ask the legislature to ban them all immediately. I want that bill on my desk."
Another victor in a tight, high-profile GOP primary race, state Senator Wendy Rogers (R-Flagstaff), will serve as a primary sponsor of the bill banning the use of photo radar.
"The photo radar industry made its home base in Arizona," Rogers told TheNewspaper. "And that ends next year. We're no longer going to allow government to spy on Arizonans for profit and trample due process rights."
Passage of such legislation is enhanced with state Senator Warren Petersen (R-Gilbert) and state House Representative Joseph Chaplik likely to secure leadership positions in the upcoming session. Both Chaplik and Petersen championed bills that would have banned automated ticketing machines only to lose out on final passage by a handful of votes due to the powerful lobbying influence Redflex Traffic Systems and American Traffic Solutions have over lawmakers in Phoenix. The companies recently merged to become Verra Mobility, the largest camera operator in the country. Verra is based in Mesa.
Lake was in a tough primary against former US Representative Matt Salmon, who lobbied on behalf of Willetta Partners, which represented Redflex. Salmon dropped out of the race and joined former Governor Jan Brewer, a photo radar supporter, in endorsing Karrin Taylor Robson, Lake's main rival for the nomination.
While Arizona was an early adopter of photo radar, it also is home to the first public revolt at the ballot box against the use of automated ticketing machines. In 1991, more than two-thirds of Peoria voters decided to overturn the city council's photo radar deal with the company that went on to become Verra Mobility. More than two-thirds voted cameras out in Sierra Vista and Tucson in more recent challenges.