I received word this afternoon that Houston’s City Council passed a settlement agreement with American Traffic Solutions to end the red light camera program.
The city has been mired in a court battle for more than a year about a charter amendment passed in November 2010 mandating the city end the program. The battle was over a breach of contract, due to former Mayor Bill White’s administration removing a termination clause from the contract. Without the termination clause, the city faced penalties for shutting the cameras off early.
The city has agreed to pay $4.8 Million in fees ATS would have collected for the duration of the contract, and both sides agreed to drop the federal court case.
The citizens group that pushed the ballot initiative asked the court to intervene, saying the contract was illegal without the termination clause, and the city should not be accountable for the settlement. The judge dismissed the petition, and considered the case closed.
Under the agreement, ATS has 60 days to remove the cameras from city right of way.
…North-Central Texas Red Light Cameras clicking too frequently?
Meanwhile, at my new venue in Frisco, Texas, I watch as the Red Light Camera programs in Frisco, Plano and Dallas (and other cities) keep clicking away. One Frisco intersection in particular, Preston at Stonebrook Parkway has two of these street side scams on a stick standing sentinel over drivers. Most times I drive through there, the flash goes off for some poor soul, and I doubt that people are honestly running red lights that often.
Tuesday night, as I was driving through the intersection, I caught the flash of the camera going off behind me. I looked up to see the light was green (as it was as I approached the intersection), and knew it was a mis-fire. I will certainly be watching the mail the next few weeks, to see if I was the target of that flash, although I find it unlikely.
Since most cities up here don’t have plans to end their red light camera program, I suspect the only way they will end is if the State Legislature revisits the law next year and pulls the plug on all of them statewide.