Memo To Miami City Commissioners: Red Light Cameras Suck

As cities around south Florida are ditching controversial red light camera programs, Miami's elected officials are about to extend its contract with the company that provides the company that operates the video recorders. Ass backwards, you say? Well, it is the Magic City.

At today's city commission meeting, commissioners will vote on a renegotiated contract with American Traffic Solutions, the company that has been putting up red light cameras at intersections in Miami-Dade and Broward. While the deal calls for ATS to get no more than 40 percent of the city's revenue from the cameras, the firm gets to stay on the job for at least 10 years. That's right Miami citizens, you can expect to be photographed and ticketed for at least a decade.

The devices have already been eliminated in Miami-Dade's second largest city. On June 30, the Hialeah city council voted to cut short its deal with ATS. The cameras only generated $100,000-$125,000 for Hialeah, according to police Chief Mark Overton. The city had predicted revenues in the millions of dollars.

Hollywood projected $1.8 million in revenue, but dropped its estimate down to $500,000. When Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado -- the subject of a scathing cover story this week -- began championing red light cameras last year, the city predicted $8 million in revenue this year. As of June, the city has only collected $1 million.

But ATS can thank its lobbyists, Armando Gutierrez and Steve Marin for keeping the cameras in Miami for the foreseeable future. Both guys run political campaigns for the commissioner and the mayor, so you know they are making sure ATS comes out on top in Miami.

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