Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Harris County balks at Houston's plan to withhold registration from red light camera scofflaws

Harris County has told the City of Houston that they are opposed to the city's plan to withhold automobile registration for people who have outstanding red light camera tickets. County commissioners have described Houston's red light camera program as a money grab and are reluctant to do the city's bidding if it would result in the loss of county revenue.

“The downside is becoming a tool of the city for their incredible revenue grab. It's come to look like it's more of a revenue situation than trying to change people's behavior.” -- Steve Radack, Commissioner, Precinct 3

Harris County currently receives a third of the registration fee plus an additional 5% for county roads and bridges.

Since instituting the program in May 2006, the City of Houston has collected about $21.3 million from the cameras with approximately $16 million still uncollected. Red light camera tickets are civil violations that are fine only as the state would be unable to prove who was driving the car at the time it triggered the camera.

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