Alberta’s United Conservative Party announced they are banning photo radar on the ring roads around Calgary and Edmonton and hinted that more bans could be coming soon.
According to a statement from the UCP, the decision comes after they received several complaints from Albertans who said that the tool was simply being used as a cash cow by municipal governments, which receive 60% of the tax revenue from the ticket.
The province receives the other 40%.
Furthermore, the UCP stated they “will be engaging with municipalities and law enforcement over the next year on removing all ‘fishing hole’ locations across the province.”
In an interview with The Counter Signal, Minister of Transportation Devin Dreeshen spoke of the “fishing holes,” saying he thinks that an ongoing review of the photo radar sites will show that municipal governments have been abusing the tool to serve as a revenue-generating scheme.
“This ongoing review of the next year is going to identify more fishing hole locations,” he said.
“The big distinction we’re going to make is if there’s a site where there’s no traffic safety concerns, there’s been no accidents, no fatalities, that type of site obviously isn’t about safety.”
Dreeshen said there’s a handful of “bad sites” that take in the vast majority of the revenue.
Between 2022-2023, photo radar tickets generated $171 million in Alberta.
Photo radar is so lucrative in Alberta that some municipal governments budget for money collected from tickets.
Asked if Thursday’s announcement was just the first step towards a full-stop ban on all photo radar sites in Alberta, Dreeshen said he thinks there’s a chance that municipal governments could make that decision.
He further pointed to Strathcona County, which recently opted to discontinue photo radar systems.
Last year, the UCP Government extended the freeze on new photo radar equipment and locations until Dec. 1, 2023, a decision that received pushback from municipalities.