Fight continues as Cedar Rapids will file lawsuit to keep traffi - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Fight continues as Cedar Rapids will file lawsuit to keep traffic cameras

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) -

The fight continues, as a city is taking the Iowa Department of Transportation to court over the embattled traffic cameras.

City councilman Kris Gulick says the city voted unanimously Tuesday, to take the DOT to court.

"Is it important for a state agency to make decisions for what's important for a local community," asked Gulick. "One of the fundamental components of our decision, amongst all the council members because it was a unanimous decision, was the nature of 'home rule,' meaning local communities having the ability to do the things they think are in the best interests of their community as a whole.

Earlier this year, the Iowa DOT ordered the city to take down the traffic enforcement cameras on Interstate 380 in two locations and move two other cameras. 

The city later appealed and in May, the DOT denied that appeal.

After an 80-minuted closed session Tuesday, the city voted unanimously to seek the courts to make the decision.

Gulick says he's not sure how all this will play out in court.

"It's hard to predict that. I think, I asked the question about case law on home rule cases and typically those cases go to the state supreme court," said Gulick

Gulick says the city refused to comply with DOT orders because they believe the cameras are reducing speed and fatalities, especially on the s-curve along I-380

However, drivers like Jarrod Thomlinson think the city is just after the money.

Yeah, it does slow traffic down," said Thomlinson. "Because it's making money for them. it's money in their pockets. If they move the cameras and take them down they're losing money."

The city collected nearly $3.5 million from the speed camera citations in 2014.

The DOT says they won't force the city to take down or move the cameras during the legal process - that could take quite a while before all is settled.

KWWL spoke with Mayor Ron Corbett in mid-May, he said the city was looking at cost and timing in making a lawsuit decision.

However, Gulick says that's no longer the case.

He says the city attorney's staff has been working since the DOT's appeal and costs in this lawsuit won't be significant, and not even a factor for the city.

"I hope the DOT [wins]. I think the DOT's rules of the road, they govern the traffic that's why they're called the department of transportation," said Thomlinson

The speed cameras have been in place for about five years.

However, the DOT started requiring cities with cameras to submit data reports last year, as a way to  prove the cameras were in a good place.

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