AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - Last week, Governor Abbott signed House Bill 1631, which prohibits any new red light cameras from popping up in cities across the state.
As part of that bill, cities who already have them can keep them through the end of their contract.
“Right now, we’re under contract until September 2022,” said Raymond Lee, Director of Public Works for the City of Amarillo. “Right now, with the direction that we have, we will continue that program, unless council directs us to do otherwise.”
As the bill is written, if the City of Amarillo was to cancel the contract with the company today, it would cost taxpayers roughly $500,000.
“Typically, the program, as citations come in, it pays for that infrastructure and the cost of that infrastructure,” said Lee. “If we were to end it before the company is able to recoup their cost for that infrastructure, then we would have to pay a fee to that company to go ahead and pay for that infrastructure to be taken out of our signalized intersections.”
An Amarillo lawyer says if citizens do receive this $75 ticket in the mail, he encourages them to fight it.
“You can contest through the mail, you can get the video pictures of your license plate in the middle of the intersection, no proof of who was driving, and you can fight them administratively,” said Ryan Brown, partner at Blackburn and Brown.
The City of Amarillo believes these red light cameras have made intersections safer, and if a citizen receives a ticket, to pay it.
“Even today, we see a decrease in the amount of collisions that we have, especially t-bone collisions which are some of the most critical collisions that you can have at an intersection,” said Lee. “They have dropped off dramatically.”
While the cost to cancel now is about half a million dollars, the Department of Public Works will be coming back to council to let them know if that cost decreases if they were to cancel next year, or the following year.