5/6/2010Arizona Drops Redflex Freeway Speed Camera Contract
Arizona governor orders strategic withdrawal of statewide photo radar contract.
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer's administration has officially canceled the state contract that authorized Redflex Traffic Systems to issue automated freeway speeding tickets. The program, started in 2008 by Brewer's Democratic predecessor Janet Napolitano, will be terminated according to statement issued earlier today to Australian Securities Exchange investors.
"Redflex has now received formal notification from the Department of Public Safety (DPS) that the contract will not be renewed," Redflex stated.
Although the official contract expiration date is July 1, inside sources expect speed vans to be pulled off the highways much sooner. As a result of the lost revenue stream, Redflex said it would take a $5 million loss on top of a previously announced $4.9 million loss arising from residents realizing that tickets sent in the mail can be safely ignored. A 1992 appeals court ruling declared void any attempt to impose a fine without personal service (read opinion).
Intense public pressure against photo enforcement in general spurred the decision to end the contract. While the loss of the statewide ticketing program is significant in terms of revenue to the state and other interested parties, the industry hopes to relieve the pressure that has been building to outlaw the far more lucrative red light camera and speed camera programs in local jurisdictions.
"Even if the program does continue in early FY2011, a number of groups opposed to photo enforcement are trying to have a referendum put to voters in November 2011 to effectively end photo enforcement in the state of Arizona," a Redflex statement issued last month explained. "Whether this referendum occurs, and the likely outcome, are difficult to predict at this stage."
Referendum organizers insist that they will press forward with their effort because there are no guarantees that the freeway cameras will not make a comeback after the elections. Municipal cameras, moreover, issue just as many tickets as the statewide cameras and raise all of the same constitutional and safety issues.
"Arizonans know that these cameras increase accidents (view studies)," Arizona Citizens Against Photo Radar representative Shawn Dow told TheNewspaper. "Now it is time for the red light cameras to come down."
On top of the contract difficulties, a lawsuit by competitor American Traffic Solutions has brought the Redflex legal bill for the year to $6.2 million. The company reported a pre-tax profit of $13.4 million last year. In April, Redflex reduced the expectation to $7 million. The latest announcement dropped the figure to just $2 million.
The jury trial in the case ATS v. Redflex will commence at 9am on May 11 before US District Court Judge Frederick J. Martone. The trial is expected to last six days.