LAFAYETTE, La. (The Advertiser) — Lafayette’s contract with Redflex that uses cameras to catch speeders and red-light runners may be extended a year, until June 4, 2017.
An ordinance is on Tuesday’s agenda for introduction, placed on the agenda by Lafayette Consolidated Government’s legal department. If the council approves introduction Tuesday, the one-year extension would be up for a final vote at the council’s May 17 meeting.
LCG entered an agreement June 8, 2007, with Redflex to install and operate cameras at select intersections in the city of Lafayette to catch motorists who speed or run through red lights. The company also uses two vans equipped with cameras to catch speeders in various locations.
When the Redflex program, called SafeLight and SafeSpeed, was implemented, it was supposed to reduce the number of serious crashes at intersections from motorists running red lights.
The cameras snap photos and videos of violators, who are mailed a copy of the photo and a civil citation. Violators can appeal. Redflex is responsible for collecting the fees and splits them with LCG.
But collecting the fees has proved to be problematic. The Daily Advertiser reported that Lafayette, as of July 2013, was owed about $3 million in unpaid fines and penalties. One business owed $46,000.
Councilman William Theriot said he does not support the program because it “was never about safety. It was always about revenue.” It also operates on the honor system, he said, meaning those who feel obligated to pay the fines do and others don’t.
“Let’s suppose there’s a tax passed on all the citizens of Lafayette and only some pay it and some don’t,” Theriot said. “Would that be acceptable?”
Redflex has been under fire for several years for alleged involvement in bribes. One scandal surfaced in Chicago, where the city sued the company in 2015 for $300 million after its former CEO pled guilty in federal court to corruption charges. In Jefferson Parish, Redflex operated from 2007 until 2010, when officials pulled the plug after allegations surfaced about payments the company allegedly made to local political lobbyists.