State Sen. Michael Doherty (R-23) released a statement Thursday, just two days after about his legislation to ban red light cameras in New Jersey, blasting Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich for comments he made in an article published on NorthJersey.com saying he wants to install red light cameras in the borough “for money reasons.”
“Mayor Sokolich has admitted that he wants the money generated by red light cameras, despite the opposition of Fort Lee residents to his plan,” Doherty said in the statement. “The Mayor has stated his intention to put cameras at lights on the edge of town where he says mostly non-residents will be ticketed. If safety was truly the goal, wouldn’t he seek to have cameras installed at the most dangerous intersections rather than the ones least likely to draw residents’ ire?”
In July, that while he always tries to make the best decisions for the community regardless of whether they’re difficult or potentially unpopular, he regrets not tackling the question of a red light camera program in the borough two years earlier.
He also said the Mayor and Council would likely “revisit” the idea, and that such a program wouldn’t be put in place with the intention of ticketing Fort Lee residents.
Sokolich said at the time a red light camera program would make dangerous intersections in Fort Lee safer and generate revenue for the borough, much of which he said will come from out-of-towners cutting through the borough.
“Fort Lee is blessed or cursed, depending on how you look at it, with several very, very busy intersections, where, during peak morning and afternoon rush, I would venture to guess that less than 1 percent of the traffic volume is generated by residents from Fort Lee,” Sokolich said in July.
Speaking at the Fort Lee VFW Tuesday, Doherty agreed with a member of the audience who questioned why a proposal to install red light cameras isn’t being put before Fort Lee voters in a referendum.
“Mayor Sokolich knows his proposal to install red light cameras is unpopular and would lose at the polls because people don’t want to become a cash cow for wasteful government,” Doherty said Thursday.
Sokolich said that if the question were put on a referendum, he wasn’t certain it would “garner enough support to pass,” and that sometimes “government needs to have the fortitude” to make potentially unpopular decisions, NorthJersey.com reported.
He also said that even a vote by the Borough Council could be close, according to the report.
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