Red-light Cameras Back On

Jul. 11, 2011Houston Chronicle

Red-light camera violations resumed Saturday, and those who run lights can expect citations, a city of Houston spokeswoman said.

The announcement follows a federal judge’s decision that the city of Houston cannot appeal his ruling invalidating the referendum last year that turned off a red-light surveillance system.

The order did not change the city’s plan to reactivate the system, which officials said would happen shortly after testing by red-light camera contractor American Traffic Solutions.

“The equipment has been tested and violations have now resumed,” said city spokeswoman Janice Evans.

In November, about 53 percent of Houston voters approved a referendum to turn off the cameras. U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes later ruled that it been improperly placed on the ballot by opponents of the cameras, making the results invalid.

To honor the will of voters, Mayor Annise Parker said the city would seek permission for an appeal from Hughes.

Although Hughes announced the ruling could not be appealed, a final disposition of any remaining issues in the district court during a hearing scheduled for July 19 could clear the way for the city to pursue an appeal with the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, officials said.

The city began citing red-light runners captured on the cameras in September 2006. The system collected nearly $50.5 million in fines before it was turned off late last year.

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