6/12/2006Scottsdale, Arizona Speed Cameras to Make $20 Million
A set of six speed cameras on a Scottsdale, Arizona freeway will make $20 million this year.
Speed cameras on the Loop 101 freeway in Scottsdale, Arizona have brought in a minimum of $5,268,763 in revenue in the first three months of operation. Last month, violations were up nearly twenty-five percent over the first thirty days of operation, contrary to the city's initial assertions that the devices would improve driving habits and result in a lower number of violations.
Because unclear photographs by law cannot be used to prosecute a vehicle owner, Australian camera operator Redflex has been able to turn only 44 percent of the alleged violations into tickets worth a minimum of $157 each. As of May 31, 33,559 of these citations have been processed. By contract, Redflex will receive a bounty of $1,425,586 for issuing these tickets. As the foreign vendor has yet to recoup the $1.6 million it invested in camera equipment for the project, it does not yet have an incentive to adjust camera settings to achieve a reduction in the number of tickets issued.
Scottsdale has more than recovered its $505,000 investment in the project. Although the program is on track to make $20 million a year, it has been plagued by a number of embarrassing incidents:
- Earlier this month, a man was arrested for violating the laws of physics and driving a rental car 10 MPH faster than its top speed. The city nonetheless maintains the cameras are accurate.
- Last month, a black man was sent a white man's speed camera ticket.
- In February, Scottsdale jailed a man photographed flipping off a speed camera.
- In December, the city admitted to almost 2000 improper speed camera tickets being issued on city streets.