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updated: 3/12/2014 5:57 PM

Speed cameras outside Chicago? Not yet

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By Zachary White

A downstate lawmaker wants to allow the expansion of school-zone speed cameras beyond Chicago, where tickets from the controversial cameras are already upsetting drivers.

The proposal from state Rep. Jay Hoffman, a Belleville Democrat, is far from becoming law. It has not yet been debated in Springfield. And even if lawmakers approve the use of cameras outside Chicago, local officials would have the final say.

"Local school districts as well as a local municipality must actually pass an ordinance that allows it," Hoffman said.

Hoffman argues that cameras could help keep drivers in line, making it safer for children.

Still, suburban drivers already frustrated by tickets they've gotten from the Chicago cameras are sure to have an opinion.

Alina Arroyo, of Bloomingdale, said she got a warning ticket when passing someone in the city. She said the regulation goes too far.

"You cannot even sneeze," Arroyo said.

Under Hoffman's plan, a ticket would cost up to $50 if a driver was going between 6 to 10 mph over the speed limit and up to $100 for a driver going faster.

Cameras would be set up no more than one eighth of a mile from a school zone.

Local mayors say they're not pushing for the cameras.

Mount Prospect Mayor Arlene Juracek said the cameras do not serve as a good revenue source. That's because they bring in less than it costs to maintain them.

"Everyone thinks we make money off these things, we really don't," Juracek said.

Elgin Mayor Dave Kaptain said speed cameras could be a good tool to get people to follow the law, but law enforcement should not be used to generate money.

"As long as they're used for safety purposes I support them," he said.

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