Houston Community News >> City of Houston Approves Red-Light Cameras

6/4/2006 Houston, TX -- A divided City Council approved a a contract for cameras to catch red-light violators this past Wednesday. The red-light voted ended more than a year of debate about whether the city should monitor Houston motorists and, if so, who should be hired to develop the system.

The vote clears the way for the contractor, Arizona-based American Traffic Solutions Inc., to begin installing cameras within 45 days, initially at 10 city intersections, after a month-long public awareness campaign.

The measure had been delayed several times while another contractor vying for the deal raised concerns about the selection process. Houston Mayor Bill White, who first brought the issue to the council in 2004, said the cameras will protect motorists.

"It's a big day for public safety in Houston," he said. "Unfortunately, we're not short on intersections where there have been lots of intersectional collisions or red-light violations."

Critics have charged that the real intent of the cameras is to raise city revenue through the civil penalties that would be assessed against violators caught on camera. Those $75 fines would not count against a motorist's driving record, unlike a ticket issued by police officers. Houston police are expected to announce the locations of the cameras within a few days, said Lt. Rover Manzo, a department spokesman.