Debate over traffic cameras gets red hot - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Andrew Douglas

Debate over traffic cameras gets red hot

One councilman is demanding no more secrecy in the contract bidding process for red light cameras.

But the person in charge of the process said it has to be done to ensure no unfair advantages.

At intersections across america, cameras have become all but commonplace.

Especially red light cameras. They catch drivers running red lights and issue a ticket. Then it is sent to the vehicle's owner.

The camera company and the city benefit financially.

So when Memphis city leaders voted to bring in red light cameras at 10 intersections, the competition for a contract was so intense the person in charge made the process a secret.

City Court Clerk Thomas Long said a Red Light committee with five unidentified members voted and unanimously agreed with one company.

He insists the selection was honest and kept confidential so people with a vested interest wouldn't influence the process.

"The vendors and other individuals they really got upset because they could not control the process or the outcome," Long said.

"This is too much secrecy it's got to be removed," city council member Myron Lowery said.

City Councilman Myron Lowery said the ordinance three years ago, bringing cameras to the bluff city, required city council oversight.

He has threatened to file a subpoena to get the information.

Long said he met with council members on two occassions about the cameras and will disclose all information this Tuesday to council members.

Lowery says other cities do not have this type of secrecy during this kind of bid process.

The cameras could generate some $50 million for the company that lands this contract.

Click here to e-mail Andrew Douglas.

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