Tampa council approves new red light contract by 4-3 vote

Tampa is on pace to give out 65,000 red light camera tickets in 2016. The future of 54 safety cameras is up for debate today.

UPDATE: A divided city council approved a new extension to Tampa’s red light camera contract by a 4-3 vote Thursday. Read the full story here.

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Keep them or scrap them.

Thursday Tampa City Council will decide either to extend a contact with the company that maintains and operates the camera for two more years or get rid of them altogether.

Tampa's 54 red light cameras have nabbed thousands of drivers with tickets, but years of 10 Investigates stories have called into question whether the cameras actually make you safer or fill the city's coffers?

Thursday the council is facing a sweeter deal that would give them more money the next time you get a ticket. Tampa's new two-year contract with American Traffic Solutions would guarantee the city $75,000 more per year, regardless how many tickets are written. It would also better protect the city if you decided to sue them after you get a ticket.

Mayor Bob Buckhorn is a supporter of the red light camera program. He says it makes all of us safer, and today he's hoping 4 out of 7 council members decide to keep the program running.

As Tampa looks at extending its controversial red light camera program, other cities in Tampa Bay have scrapped theirs. St. Petersburg, Kenneth City, Temple Terrace, Oldsmar, South Pasadena, Manatee County and Gulfport all voted to take their red light cameras out.

Years of 10 Investigates stories uncovered short yellow lights and a Department of Highway Safety study that found crashes actually increased at intersections where red lights cameras were installed.

Since 10 Investigates started investigating got the state to require the yellow portion of the lights be extended, and while the number of tickets initially dropped, now drivers are getting more tickets for not completely stopping before turning right on red. Tampa is on track to give out a whopping 65,000 tickets by the end of this fiscal year, which ends in 15 days.

Thursday’s council meeting is at 9AM.

(© 2016 WTSP)


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