ST. LOUIS – You Paid For It has been pushing governments in both St. Louis City and County to adopt a system to make intersections safer for emergency vehicles and motorists. The new system is being implemented by St. Charles County and will be operational by the end of 2022.
A St. Louis alderman has adopted the idea and introduced a resolution to study the cost and implementation of such a measure.
Public Safety Committee Chairman Alderman Joe Vaccaro agrees it’s something St Louis should adopt.
“So, I saw your interview about the cameras and I said, ‘Wow, this is actually a really good idea,’ so I put together initially a resolution when will actually go to the Streets Committee this week to look into how we go about funding,” he said. “And even if it’s a million dollars, when you got half-a-billion dollars in COVID money, a million dollars is not a lot of money if it saves lives; if it gets the ambulance to your house quicker.”
Vaccaro says he got the idea after seeing FOX 2’s report on St. Charles County’s implementation of the traffic signal plan. It keeps the traffic signals green for an emergency vehicle and it turns the signals red for everyone else.
The St. Charles County setup cost $800,000. Eighty percent of the program is paid for with federal funds, with the remainder coming from a local tax measure.
Vacarro says the legislation will be assigned to the Aldermanic Streets Committee for hearings. From there, he expects legislation to be crafted.
St. Louis County is also working on its own plan to study the system. Most accidents involving emergency vehicles happen at intersections. We took the idea to Council Chair Rita Days, who passed a resolution to study the idea that’s already being used by the Metro West Fire Protection District in St. Louis County.
She also agrees it’s something that could save lives and get first responders to where they need to go faster and safer.