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Red light cameras tough to turn off, despite growing opposition

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Nov. 12, 2013, file photo, of vehicles passing a highway sign along Interstate 380 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, warning drivers that the 55-mph speed limit is enforced by speed cameras. (AP)

Red light cameras have generated millions in revenue for towns and cities across the country, but they’ve brought plenty of controversy, too.

More than 500 municipalities are using red light cameras, which have proliferated, as have efforts to limit or ban them.

But opponents are learning the cameras, like many government programs, are difficult to shut down.

In Colorado, a bipartisan group of state lawmakers supported a bill to shutter the state’s automatic enforcement camera program, including red light and speed cameras. Armed with a scathing audit that revealed serious flaws with the camera program in Denver and the support of the speaker of the House and other legislative leaders, state Sen. Scott Renfroe, R-Weld, thought he was on the brink of success.

Ultimately, his effort fell short.

Renfroe’s bill mustered only enough votes to pass the Senate. A House committee gutted the bill and instead called for a statewide study of existing red light camera programs, but even that version failed to cross the finish line before the session ended.

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