Opponents want to repeal Fla. red light camera law

Revenue way up as fatal crashes down, study shows

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Red light camera revenue in Florida is up from $37 million in two years ago to a whopping $118 million last year.

That's because 74 cities and five counties now operate the cameras.

State Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, wants to repeal the 2010 law that allows red light cameras.

"We've tolerated this back door tax increase for too long," he said. "It is time we bring some common sense to the traffic policies of the state of Florida."

A study by the legislature's office of policy analysis and accountability found fatal crashes are down by 49 percent at red light camera intersections, but the number of rear-end crashes is up.

The report also found that revenue from red light intersections goes to general revenue, not traffic safety.

Casey Cook, of the Florida League of Cities, says the numbers prove the cameras are saving lives.

"Fewer people are running red lights, and the fact of the matter is 49 percent fewer people died this year as a result of red light running," Cook said.

Opponents argue the data is sketchy. They appear poised to recommend big changes if they can't engineer a full repeal.

"We should require that traffic studies be done for each and every intersection with a red light camera," Brandes said. "Second, we need to require that traffic safety counter measures be implemented before installing red light cameras."

A legislative committee will hear from the authors of this report later this week.

The cameras cost cities and counties between $4,200 and $4,700 a month for each camera. Fifteen cities generated more than $1 million in revenue from the cameras last year.

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