Tampa extends red-light camera contract with 25% of net revenues earmarked for intersection safety

04/03/14 Seán Kinane
WMNF Drive-Time News Thursday | Listen to this entire show:
Tags: red light cameras, Tampa, City of Tampa, St. Petersburg, Tampa City Council, Bob Buckhorn, Hillsborough County


Protesters gather beneath four red light cameras at Dale Mabry & Waters in Tampa

photo by WMNF File Photo 2011

The City of Tampa is renewing its contract with the vendor of its red-light cameras. City council voted 6-1 today to extend the contract by two years despite a vote last month against renewing the contract. What changed? Mayor Bob Buckhorn proposed using a quarter of the net revenue from red-light camera citations to improve the safety of intersections with the cameras.

But that didn’t sit well with the only person who spoke on the issue during public comment, St. Petersburg red-light critic Matt Florell.

Lisa Montelione was the only council member to vote against the contract extension.

Council member Mary Mulhern insisted that the revenue for the red-light intersection improvements be included as a line-item in the Mayor’s proposed budget. That’s to prevent a tactic council chair Charlie Miranda compared to a shell game and the Florida Lottery where profits are earmarked for education at the same time the state legislature reduces other education funding.

Wednesday the Hillsborough County Commission reiterated its support for the ten red-light cameras in the unincorporated county.

"We should spend money based on priorities. We should spend money based on where need is. We should not spend money on a particular location because that's where that camera happens to be located. Those are my concerns and I hope my constituents get the irony in what I'm about to say but if that's the case I want more cameras on Busch Boulevard. I want more cameras on 30th Street. I want more cameras on Bruce B. Downs. Because there are accidents that happen, I witness people being run over on bicycles on Busch Boulevard almost on a monthly basis. Some of them die. Some of them don't, but are they at intersections? Maybe, maybe not. Are there red light cameras there? Maybe, maybe not. People die on Busch Boulevard by being hit by cars that are speeding down Busch Boulevard. If we're only going to increase spending based on where these cameras are, I want more cameras."

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