Republicans on the House Appropriations Committee are waging war on Washington, DC’s traffic laws.
In their proposed spending bill for fiscal year 2024, House Republicans tacked on several policy riders that would alter laws in the nation’s capital. Most of the riders are standard conservative fare: repealing DC’s Death with Dignity Act, banning needle exchanges, retaining limits on contraception. But Republicans are also targeting less obviously partisan issues, like DC’s traffic rules.
One GOP proposal takes on traffic cameras, promising to prevent the city from “carrying out automated traffic enforcement.” Speed and red light cameras are not without controversy, even among safe streets advocates—but they are often touted as a way to reduce police interactions during traffic stops, and some studies have found that they decrease the frequency of crashes. In DC, traffic cameras also generate revenue from tickets, so it’s unclear how the proposal would account for this hit to the budget.
Republicans also want to override DC’s pending ban on right-turns-on-red, a dangerous maneuver and relic of the 1970s oil crisis that doesn’t actually help drivers save gas. In addition to imperiling cyclists and pedestrians, these traffic proposals impinge on DC’s right to decide how it governs itself. So much for the party of “small government.”