LONDON, Ont. - Photo radar is coming to school zones in London, but it won’t just be speeders who will take a financial hit.
Local taxpayers will also be on the hook.
On Tuesday night, London cty council endorsed a plan to install cameras in Community Safety Zones, or school zones where speed limits are 40 kilometres an hour.
The program would start small, with just two cameras that would rotate between locations around the city.
Within five years it would grow to seven cameras.
But the program will not be revenue neutral any time soon. In fact it’s anyone’s guess as to how long it could take to break even.
According to city solicitor Barry Card, the average cost to taxpayers for every offence, including speeding tickets, is $87. It comes from municipal, county, and provincial coffers and covers everything from processing tickets to maintaining facilities like the provincial offences court office.
However, the fine for speeding through a community safety zone at, for example, 11 kilometres an hour above the posted speed limit of 40 kilometres an hour, is $54. The difference of $33 against the average cost of an offence has to be made up by taxpayers.
It’s hoped that as more Ontario municipalities choose to adopt photo-radar, the equipment will go down in price, and one day, many years from now, the city will break even.
City politicians are also hoping a reserve fund that’s resulted from red-light cameras will help offset the losses anticipated from photo-radar.
Coun. Shawn Lewis says if lives are saved it’s money well spent. “There’ll be some revenue lost there, right off the hop.”
He also believes drivers will begin to adopt safer driving habits.
“Give yourself that extra five minutes. It’s worth the life of a child to just obey the traffic rules. We know that 40 has a significant decrease in reducing injuries and fatalities. It’s going to add a couple minutes travel time to your day so just respect the rules. Respect the limit.”