FOX NEWS - A small Ohio town that lived by the red light camera could soon die by it, after a federal court ruled the speed trap has to pay back more than $3 million in automated speeding tickets.
The case of New Miami, population 2,321, highlights the controversy behind the tickets, which make stoplight-running motorists see red, but help keep the budgets of cities and towns in the black. New Miami will almost certainly go bankrupt if the Supreme Court doesn’t reverse a lower court’s ruling and spare it from refunding tens of thousands of tickets at $180 apiece plus interest.
“The village enacted this unconstitutional scheme primarily as a money making venture,” Josh Engel, the lawyer representing the plaintiffs in the New Miami case, told Fox News. “They increased their spending significantly after the scheme was put in place and it was basically used to fill holes in their budget that would traditionally have come from raising taxes.”
The case of New Miami is seen by many drivers across the country – including numerous lawmakers and lawyers – as the epitome of municipalities abusing their power by setting up speed traps and red light cameras in an attempt, not to make roadways safer, but to line their coffers.
“As with most issues there are elements of truth on both sides,” Bill Seitz, a Republican state representative from Ohio, told Fox News. “But many of these jurisdictions are using these tickets as revenue enhancements that ticket people for only minor infractions.”