Updated: Province freezes photo radar program, but will keep more money

Updated: Province freezes photo radar program, but will keep more money

If the study results show photo radar is a cash grab, government will get rid of it

The provincial government has frozen the photo radar program, saying it wants to ensure automated speeding enforcement isn’t a cash cow.

Yet in its recent budget, the United Conservatives have taken an extra 13.4 per cent of the photo radar ticket revenue from municipalities, says Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer.

“So the review and the budget position are not in alignment.

“Their budget presumes more revenue from tickets than it did previously,” said Veer, adding it would be close to one million dollars more from the city.

The province has increased the amount it keeps from each ticket to 40 per cent from 26.6 per cent, said Veer.

The goal of the government’s review is to determine whether photo radar makes Albertans safer on the roads, Transportation Minister Ric McIver said Tuesday.

“Our goal is to ensure photo radar is used for safety, not to generate backdoor tax revenue. Albertans are skeptical about the impact photo radar has on safety,” he said.

McIver said the government will act according to the results of the study, and “everything is on the table.”

“We’re going to go where the evidence leads us. If it’s for safety, we’re going to keep it. If it’s only for revenue collection, we won’t. But we don’t want to presuppose where the evidence takes us.”

Effective Sunday, municipalities and police agencies will not be able to install new or upgraded photo radar devices, or deploy existing photo radar equipment to new locations.

The freeze will be in place while the UCP government works to refine rules for photo radar site selection, operational restrictions and data collection.

The City of Red Deer does not plan to make any program changes, so the freeze will not have an impact on the municipality.

Currently, 27 Alberta municipalities take part in photo radar programs. These municipalities, Red Deer included, have been left to their own devices to collect data, and each municipality does it differently.

“We need an apples to apples comparison,” McIver said.

“This is not a criticism of the municipalities. They’ve never been asked to report consistently, so we are going to talk to them and police services and negotiate a consistent set of data … and then we’ll have data that hopefully we trust and can make decisions on.”

Ticket revenue generated through automated speeding enforcement, which includes photo radar, red light camera and intersection speed cameras (speed on green) in 2018 in Red Deer was about $2.5 million. That same number was about $1.8 in 2017 and about $2.3 million in 2016.

A review in 2018 under the previous government found that Alberta has three times as many photo radar devices per capita as B.C. and Manitoba. That review does not provide adequate data, McIver said Tuesday.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Pope Francis, third from left, watches Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI entering St. Peter’s Basilica accompanied by Monsignor Georg Gaenswein, at the Vatican, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
Vatican clears retired US bishop of multiple abuse claims

Retired Wyoming Bishop Joseph Hart exonerated

A dealer slides chips across a blackjack table on Friday, March 16, 2012, in Bangor, Maine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Robert F. Bukaty
Great Canadian Gaming CEO resigns after travel to Yukon: media reports

Couple intercepted at the Whitehorse airport trying to leave Yukon

Terrance Josephson of the Princeton Posse, at left, and Tyson Conroy of the Summerland Steam clash during a Junior B hockey game at the Summerland Arena in the early spring of 2020. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s national winter sport

FILE - In this March 10, 2011, file photo, then-Vice President Joe Biden, left, shakes hands with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in Moscow, Russia. President Joe Biden has been thrown into a high-wire act with Russia as he seeks to toughen his administration’s stance against Putin while preserving room for diplomacy in a post-Donald Trump era. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, File)
Arms deal, hacking complicate Joe Biden’s approach to Russia

Biden wants to manage differences with Russia

People wearing face masks to protect against the spread of the coronavirus walk on the Odaiba waterfront as Olympic rings is seen in the background in Tokyo, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)
Tokyo Olympic Q&A: Officials try to explain how games happen

‘Playbooks’ to provide step-by-step details on how athletes and others will get safely in and out of Tokyo

Canadian clothing line Rubies specializes in form-fitting clothing for trans and non-binary girls. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Toronto father-daughter duo design swimsuit tailored to transgender children

A Canadian clothing line is helping transgender kids feel confident at the… Continue reading

Toronto Maple Leafs alumni George Armstrong, right, and son of Maple Leafs alumni Syl Apps, Syl Apps Jr., shake hands during a pre-game ceremony before the Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets NHL game in Toronto on February 21, 2015. George Armstrong, who captained the Toronto Maple Leafs to four Stanley Cups in the '60s and wore the blue and white his entire career, has died. He was 90. The Maple Leafs confirmed the death Sunday on Twitter. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darren Calabrese
Former Maple Leafs captain George Armstrong dies

Former Maple Leafs captain George Armstrong dies

Green Bay Packers' Adrian Amos pauses after losing the NFC championship NFL football game to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Green Bay, Wis., Sunday, Jan. 24, 2021. The Buccaneers defeated the Packers 31-26 to advance to the Super Bowl. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
Aaron Rodgers’ ‘uncertain’ future hangs over Green Bay

Aaron Rodgers’ ‘uncertain’ future hangs over Green Bay

Toronto Argonauts head coach Scott Milanovich calls the plays on the sideline against Winnipeg Blue Bombers during the first half of CFL action in Winnipeg on August 14, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods
Scott Milanovich steps down as Edmonton’s head coach to pursue opportunities in NFL

Scott Milanovich steps down as Edmonton’s head coach to pursue opportunities in NFL

Most Read