Posted on Wed, Nov. 15, 2006
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Two more cities OK traffic cameras

Two more cities in Tarrant County have jumped on the red-light camera bandwagon.

North Richland Hills and Richland Hills approved red-light camera ordinances this week, saying the move will help reduce the running of red lights and other traffic problems.

The two cities also stand to make money. They plan to charge $75 per ticket.

North Richland Hills Police Chief Jimmy Perdue estimated that the cameras could generate $1 million to $1.5 million a year for the city, depending on how fully they are implemented. The money will be placed in a new traffic safety fund.

Richland Hills Police Chief Barbara Childress has said she did not know much money red-light enforcement would generate in her city of 8,200. Childress could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Richland Hills will also place the money in a traffic safety fund to pay for traffic enforcement, intersection improvements and other related programs.

But officials do not expect the red-light programs to be a long-term source of money. Over time, if they reduce red-light running, the amount of money generated will decline.

Garland was the first Texas city to use the cameras, beginning in September 2003. Arlington plans to install cameras this winter, and Bedford is considering a program.

In Richland Hills, Childress has said the cameras could be in place early next year. Possible locations include Glenview Drive and Booth Calloway Road, Baker Boulevard and Booth Calloway, and Handley-Ederville Road and Airport Freeway, she said.

In North Richland Hills, cameras should be operating in early 2007, Perdue said. Possible locations include Rufe Snow Drive at Northeast Loop 820. A temporary camera there recorded nearly 1,000 traffic violations over eight hours in August, city officials say.

The cameras record the rear license plates of vehicles running red lights. The city sends the vehicle owner a notice of the violation, which is a civil, not criminal, fine.

The state does not get a cut of the money generated by the red-light programs. Lawmakers may try to change that in the next legislative session, which starts in January.
John Kirsch, 817-685-3805