Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Red-light cameras sticking in Hillsborough County

TAMPA — Red-light cameras were scuttled in St. Petersburg and dragged into a political battle in Tampa, but they're not going anywhere in unincorporated Hillsborough County.

County commissioners affirmed their support for the cameras during a discussion Wednesday prompted by recent votes to end them in Tampa Bay's two biggest cities.

"This is a cost-effective public safety tool we can use to save lives on our roads," said Commissioner Kevin Beckner. "To suggest otherwise would be inaccurate."

St. Petersburg's council killed the cameras there, effective in September, because they aren't projected to pay for themselves this year. Tampa's council voted to end them in the city because members didn't like how the money was being spent, but that vote is likely to be reversed.

Neither of those fates likely await Hills­borough's camera program. The cameras pay for themselves, bringing in about $1.7 million annually while costing the county about $576,000. And commissioners do not have problems with where the money goes — into the general fund, where it helps pay for things like the Sheriff's Office, Fire Rescue and parks. The city of Tampa has previously used its money the same way.

Hillsborough's program is smaller than either of the city programs, with 10 cameras at six intersections. St. Petersburg has 22 cameras at 10 intersections; Tampa has 51 at 21 intersections.

While the cameras do generate money, commissioners said they support them because they make intersections safer.

"The goal of this program is simply to save lives," Commissioner Ken Hagan said.

Hillsborough County sheriff's Col. Greg Brown spoke at Wednesday's meeting at the request of Commissioner Les Miller. After three fatalities between 2006 and 2008 at the intersections where cameras were installed in 2009, there has been none since, and citations have gone down every year, Brown told commissioners.

"Driver behavior is changing," Brown said.

Miller asked if the county should add more cameras. The Sheriff's Office considers that every year, Brown said, but it hasn't recommended an expansion yet. The county's contract with American Traffic Solution is up for renewal in December.

Brown pointed out the Sheriff's Office ignored a recommendation by American Traffic Solution that would have brought in more money — ticketing every driver who rolls through a right-on-red. Hills­borough tickets only drivers who make rights on red at 15 mph or faster, Brown said.

For each $158 citation, $75 goes to the county, while $83 goes to the state. American Traffic Solutions gets a set fee of about $48,000 per month regardless of the number of citations.

"This was not designed as a moneymaking thing, but a public safety event," Brown said.

Will Hobson can be reached at (813) 226-3400 or whobson@tampabay.com.

Red-light cameras sticking in Hillsborough County 04/02/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 2, 2014 11:13pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays DFA Danny Farquhar to make room for Brad Boxberger

    Blogs

    The Rays continued shuffling their bullpen, dumping RHP Danny Farquhar after Wednesday's game to make room for RHP Brad Boxberger to be activated off the DL.

    Farquhar, who worked an inning in Wednesday's 6-2 loss, had a 2-2, 4.11 record for 37 appearances, working primarily in lower leverage situations. In …

  2. USF to face Indiana in men's basketball next season

    College

    The USF men's basketball team will get an early test from a Big Ten powerhouse next season.

  3. Rays employee helps save suicidal woman near Pirates stadium

    Blogs

    A Rays front-office employee joined umpire John Tumpane in saving a woman threatening to jump from a bridge near PNC Park on Wednesday afternoon in Pittsburgh.

    Multimedia production manager Mike Weinman, 32, was walking across the Roberto Clemente Bridge with Rays broadcasting director Larry McCabe when he …

  4. Blake Snell struggles in return as Rays fall to Pirates

    The Heater

    PITTSBURGH

    Blake Snell talked a good game ahead of his return to the Rays rotation Wednesday night, but he didn't pitch one.

    The Pirates’ David Freese scores on a Blake Snell wild pitch during the first inning against the Rays.
  5. College World Series title puts Florida Gators in elite company

    College

    The Florida Gators put themselves in rare company with Tuesday night's College World Series national championship victory.

    Florida ace and Tampa native Alex Faedo (21) lets loose with his teammates after they win the Gators’ first baseball national title.