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Arizona: Councilman Fights Return Of Red Light, Speed Cameras
Photo ticketing may end in Phoenix, Arizona after contract expansion vote with scandal-plagued vendor fails.

Sal DiCiccio
Red light cameras and speed cameras will disappear from the streets of Arizona's capital unless industry lobbyists succeed in strong arming local officials. The Phoenix City Council on a 4 to 5 vote last week turned aside an attempt to renew and expand the $4 million deal granting scandal-plagued vendor Redflex Traffic Systems of Australia the right to issue automated tickets on the streets of Phoenix.

An attempt to reconsider the vote could come as soon as the next scheduled meeting on December 4. Allowing Phoenix to pull the plug on automated ticketing machines would be a symbolic blow to the industry, as the two main operators of photo enforcement devices -- Verra Mobility and the US office of Redflex -- call the Phoenix area home. It would also deliver a financial blow to the city, which has pocketed $7,062,885 in net profits since 2009 from 205,384 speed camera and red light camera tickets.

Councilman Sal DiCiccio has been leading the charge against the devices along with Councilman Carlos Garcia. DiCiccio cited a recent streak of "staff screwups" for the camera vote. Staff, for instance, hid from members of the council a letter from Lyft threatening to cancel airport service if the council adopted a $5 tax on dropping off and picking up passengers. The staff also neglected to warn the council of the upcoming contract renewal.

Photo ticketing opponents are up against the city administration and Councilman Thelda Williams, a major supporter of ride sharing fees and other tax increases on the council. The camera backers are expected to push for a reconsideration of the photo ticketing contract at the first opportunity.

If the photo enforcement lobbyists are unable to change votes on the issue, the Phoenix cameras will go dark with the contract's expiration on December 31. The Australian firm operates twelve red light cameras and several photo radar vans. As the nation's fifth largest city, Phoenix would join major cities like Los Angeles and Houston that dropped red light cameras after years of use.

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