According to recent figures, very little of the money generated from the red light cameras situated around Tampa is actually going to the city. This year through May 1, the city has collected $1.5 million in fines. However, only about $157,000 went to the city. Camera company American Traffic Solutions is getting most of the rest of the money.
City council members are questioning why so much of the city’s generated revenue from the red light cameras are ending up in the coffers of the company that installed them. Motorists ticketed due to Tampa’s red-light cameras must pay a fine of $158. Under the operating agreement for the cameras, $83 of the fine goes to the state with the city claiming the rest after paying ATS to operate the program. One quarter of the revenue earned from the cameras was to be set aside for intersection safety improvements.
On Thursday, the city council is scheduled to receive a report on the program’s finances. The city council also wishes to determine whether the cameras are actually reducing accidents in the city. The fact that the red light cameras seem to only be a revenue generator for ATS has led some to question whether the red light cameras should remain in use in the city.
A recent lawsuit filed by a coalition of attorneys is suing about 70 cities and counties, including Tampa, for violating Florida law with the red light cameras. The cited law states that only law enforcement and traffic enforcement officers have legal authority to determine a violation and to issue a citation. The red light camera program uses the camera providers to review citation data and issue tickets.
The attorneys are seeking refunds for all drivers fined through the red light camera program. However, city attorneys have claimed that the Tampa’s camera program is operating legally. The city’s contract with ATS expires in April 2016. If the program is extended beyond that date, it will require negotiations between city officials and ATS representatives.