Houston Settles Red Light Camera Dispute

Houston's run with red light cameras is finally at a stop. Houston councilmembers voted today to pay a settlement to end litigation with the camera vendor American Traffic Solutions.

Houston's red light camera program has been a sore point since 2005, when the cameras were first approved.

After having the cameras on, then off, then back on, then off again, the city has reached a $4.8 million settlement
that allows them to keep the cameras off without having to pay the entire contract obligation to ATS.

ATS Attorney Andy Taylor says the company will get a portion of any fines collected from previous violators.

"The settlement, potentially, can be worth $12.5 million to ATS. But $5 million, roughly, is what's guaranteed. And so the city's going to have to come up with $5 million, they're going to try to fund it from a particular source and that's the red light camera citations that have never been paid."

ATS has 60 days to remove the cameras from all 50 intersections where they're installed.

ATS General Counsel George Hittner says the company still has a working relationship with the city.

"Part of the ongoing obligation, part of the settlement is a component that allows us to continue to work with the city to provide them data and to provide them our infrastructure and technology to help them continue to collect on these fines. ATS is simply a facilitator in this, so we will not be sending anything out to citizens of Houston."

Houston Council approved the settlement 13-4, with Councilmembers Jack Christie, C.O. Bradford, Mike Sullivan and Helena Brown voting no.

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...