Judge Overturns Red Light Camera Ban

A state district judge rules the charter amendment to do away with red light cameras is invalid. Laurie Johnson reports.

The ruling from State District Judge Lynn Hughes overturns the results of last year's election.

The red light camera program was eliminated after 53 percent of voters opposed it.

After months of litigation between the City of Houston and the red light camera contractor, Judge Hughes ruled the election
results invalid because the the vote falls under the category of a referendum instead of a charter amendment and, as such,
violates a number of city laws.

Houston Mayor Annise Parker says the ruling means the city has several options to consider and she will consult with the
City Attorney to deliberate the future of the red light camera program in Houston.

"I want to say very clearly that the red light cameras are currently off, the red light cameras will remain off until we are through exploring all of the options available to us and deciding what the appropriate action is and I have an opportunity to fully brief city council."

The cameras are actually running, but the city is not issuing tickets since the November election. Parker says she's relieved the litigation is over, but she's not sure what the city will do from here.

"I have mixed emotions about the ruling. I support red light cameras, I believe in red light cameras. But I also understand that there was a vote and even if that vote was invalid, the voters indicated to me that they did not support the continued use of red light cameras. So we're going to have to navigate through that."

American Traffic Solutions, the company that operates the camera, sued the city after the election, saying the terms of the vote were not proper and violated the city's contract with the company.

Bio photo of Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson

Local Host, All Things Considered

Laurie Johnson is the Houston host for All Things Considered at KUHF NPR for Houston. Before taking the anchor chair, she worked as a general assignments reporter at KUHF, starting there as an intern in 2002...