Tampa City Council members voted to end to the city's red-light camera program Thursday, but that may not be the final word.
In a narrow 4-3 vote Thursday, members went against extending the program's contract for another two years. When the program started three years ago, it also passed by a single vote.
It goes against the wishes of Mayor Bob Buckhorn and Police Chief Jane Castor. Both came out in support of extending the program.
During and after the vote, council members said they support having the cameras, but question where the money from the citations goes.
They want some of the money raised through the tickets to go toward improvements at busy intersections, like better crosswalks.
"I believe that responsibly the city should take some of that money and use it to increase safety even more. It only makes sense to do that and I don't understand why we can't do that," said council member Mary Mulhern.
"I never had a problem with the cameras and I agree with [the] assessment that they're doing good. My only reservation is why we cannot get some infrastructure dollars set aside for this cause," council member Frank Reddick said.
Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor said the vote took her completely by surprise.
"We didn't anticipate this vote, to say the least," Castor said after the meeting. "This is a very effective program that is affecting our public safety in a positive way. So I don't see the logic of cancelling the program just because the money isn't steered in a particular direction."
The city's contract for the cameras runs through April, so they won't be turned off right away.
The issue could, and probably will come up again. Miranda says the council as a whole likes the red light cameras, but they will need to re-negotiate the contract and come up with a way to address the concerns about where the money is going.
Earlier this month, the city of St. Petersburg voted to end its red-light camera program. Those cameras are expected to come down by September.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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