MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - We've been reporting for weeks on a plan to force car inspections on people who live outside, but commute into Memphis at least twice a week. Edmund Ford, Jr. wants to monitor traffic by using cameras that read license plates placed around Memphis to catch non-residents coming into the city.
Is it realistic, and is it too much of "Big Brother" watching?
It's estimated every day 400,000 non-residents come into Memphis to work and play.
"I represent people in the city, what I get from them is it's about time that people who use our roads and infrastructure pay their fair share," said Councilman Ford.
Under Ford's plan, if you drive into Memphis more than twice a week, even if you don't live in the city, you would have to pay seven bucks to get a car inspection.
Ford hopes it will help reduce air emissions in the city.
If you do it voluntarily, then there's no problem. For those that don't, Ford wants to place cameras around the city that record peoples license plates. Get caught in the city twice in one week and off to the inspection station you'll have to go.
Ford maintains, "We can do it if we want to do it."
Memphis has 25 cameras at intersections catching red light runners, so you might think it would be easy to do. Think again.
According to Jason Norton with American Traffic Solutions, "Technology exists to do it but the current red light cameras do not have that ability so they would need special cameras for that."
Norton works for the company that installed the city's red light cameras. Norton says the truth is, "It's a completely different system, different cameras. You would have to have them at every entrance to the city, which would be tough."
Taxpayers didn't pay for the red light cameras; they're paid for by tickets generated by violators.
Truth is those who operate the city's current system say it would be easy for out of town drivers to avoid the cameras by changing their routes. And when it comes to paying, "I don't know if you would generate enough funds to even pay for it itself or if it would have to be a taxpayer funded program."
Translation: the city would probably have to spend money on new equipment to put this plan into place. The question is, is that where it should be spent during tight budget times.