Baltimore’s speed camera program has a troubled history, but this isn’t going to stop Mayor Catherine Pugh from reintroducing an updated version to drivers. The program is part of an effort to urge drivers to slow down, reduce accidents at busy intersections and generate $8 million in revenue to the city.
The new system will include smaller cameras, with improved monitoring. The drivers’ advocacy group and city lawmakers are agreeable to the relaunch, but they want to make sure the new vendor doesn’t issue fallacious tickets, like the previous company.
“I have no problems with a speed camera program. I have constituents on some roads who are dying for them to come back,” City Councilman Brandon Scott said. “I hope we are awarding it to a company that can operate it in a fair way, where we aren’t making the same mistakes as before.”
In January 2016, Baltimore officials announced available bid opportunities for operating a new speed and red light camera system. The final bid is scheduled for this week, with six finalists in the running for the contract. Proposals and names of the bidders were withheld, but Adrienne Barnes, Department of Transportation spokeswoman, said the winner would be disclosed at a later date.
Local Solutions, Optotraffic, American Traffic Solutions and Xerox State are registered lobbyists with the Baltimore government.
Along with the relaunch of the red light camera enforcement, Pugh announced her $2.8 billion budget. The $8 million in fines collected through violations next fiscal year will help close a $20 million budget gap, Pugh said.
The two previous attempts to make the system work failed, because of bogus red light camera citations issued by the previous vendor. Xerox operated the system for years, before it was taken over by Brekford Corp. and shut in April 2013.
City officials hired Prince George’s County Police Major Robert V. Liberati to supervise the program. Liberati has experience in red light camera enforcement, as he previous ran the Prince George’s County system.
Local governments utilizes these systems to issue drivers a $40 citation, when they are found traveling 11 mph over the speed limit in work and school zones. Xerox operates the Baltimore County system and receives $19 of every $40 citation paid.