Tampa City Council members voted Thursday to renew the city's red-light camera program for two more years.
The move comes two weeks after they initially voted to end the program. City council members reversed course after the mayor's office promised to commit 25 percent of revenue toward improving the intersections where the cameras are installed.
"I want to thank the city council for its decision today," Mayor Bob Buckhorn said following the council's vote. "These red-light cameras are changing behavior and our families in this community. My family, your families, are safer as a result of it."
One of the initial sticking points for council members was the distribution of revenue generated by red light cameras, which brought in $1.6 million last year.
The only member to vote against renewing the program this time was Lisa Montelione, who doesn't think revenue allocation should be predetermined.
"We should not spend money on a particular location because that happens to be where that camera happens to be located," she said, adding she'd rather the money be used to make entire stretches of roadways safer.
Two days before the council's first vote, the Tampa Police Department released a series of red light camera videos showing serious collisions, hoping to sway council members' opinions. Assistant Chief John Bennett said renewing the program was the right thing to do.
"We're grateful that the City Council and the city administration and the mayor support the program," he told reporters, saying he had no problem with the mayor promising to using money to improve certain intersections. "The more you can improve the design through engineering, the better opportunity you have to make a roadway a template for safety."
"It was epidemic in this state and particularly in Tampa," Buckhorn added. "I think these cameras have changed behaviors and that's a good thing."
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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