Miami's Red-Light Cameras Are a Financial Failure That Might Lead to Furloughs

As much as city officials try to talk a good game about installing pesky red-light cameras for public safety, most were really swayed by extra money generated by tickets. City of Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado pretty much admitted as much, and the city hoped red-light cameras would bring in $10 million this fiscal year. They brought in less than $2 million, and that difference will add to the city's 2012 budget deficit. 

The city installed 32 red-light cameras last year and, judging by studies of similar intersections in other cities, hoped they'd bring in $10 million. Based on Miami drivers' reputation, some cynic was probably hoping for more. 

Instead, the cameras brought in less than $2 million. Drivers quickly caught on to the highly visible cameras, and major news coverage increased awareness. 

"They worked too well," Regalado tells Bloomberg News.

"The shortfall will contribute to a $15 million projected fiscal 2012 budget deficit that may force the city to give employees unpaid days off one day a week," Bloomberg reports.

The situation isn't unique to Miami. Many other cities across the nation have seen revenue from red-light cameras fall far short of expectations. Many cities have further seen the revenue decrease because of costs associated with motorists fighting the tickets in court. 

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Kyle Munzenrieder