Memphis' red light camera program in jeopardy - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis' red light camera program in jeopardy

By Nick Kenney - bio | email | Follow us on Twitter

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - The city of Germantown has them - cameras posted atop busy intersections.  If you run a red light, you'll get caught on camera, and get a ticket in the mail.

For two years, the city of Memphis has been considering green-lighting a similar set up, putting City Court Clerk Thomas Long in charge.

"It's never been about generating revenue," Long said Friday. "It's always been about public safety. If you can eliminate that traffic accident, save lives, that's what the red light camera initiative has always been about."

But Memphis' red light camera program is in for a yellow caution light before it ever actually begins, because of the city's budget.

The red light camera initiative was budgeted $475,000 to get started.  But in the most recent budget proposal, City Hall offered the possibility of cutting the program by $125,000.  However, officials believe doing so could jeopardize part, if not all, of the potential $1.8 million in revenue from fines the cameras generate.

"We need to either vote it up and move ahead with it," Long said. "If we're not, then let's just move on to something else."

In the end, the decision belongs to the Memphis City Council: cut the $125,000, leave it in, or put a red light on the controversial program altogether.

On June first, council members will hear from the red light camera program's vendor.  That meeting could result in a final decision one way or the other.

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