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Fort Lauderdale Considering Quintupling Red-Light Cameras: Where Does the Money Go?

​The Fort Lauderdale City Commission was receptive to a new proposal heard Tuesday about ramping up the city's red-light camera program from using six cameras to 36. While Mayor Jack Seiler said he was "not for something as massive as that," according to the Sun-Sentinel, he said he was open to adding more cameras.

The cameras are run by American Traffic Solutions, which operates cameras all over the county. A letter to the commission said the city has issued at least 26,618 citations since August 2010. At $158 a pop, that's some serious dough flowing in from automatic cameras -- but the city gets to keep only around a third of it.

The state bill allowing red-light cameras passed in 2010 and set the standard fine at $158. Here's where state law mandates the cash go:
  • $70 to the state's general fund
  • $10 to the Department of Health Administrative Trust Fund
  • $3 to the Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Trust Fund
  • $75 to the city enforcing the ordinance

If there have been almost 27,000 tickets dished out to Fort Lauderdale drivers, that's around $2 million that the city was owed by drivers after the state takes its share. But the letter says the city has netted, after paying the camera company, about $685,000. So the breakdown probably looks more like this:
  • $70 to the state's general fund
  • $10 to the Department of Health Administrative Trust Fund
  • $3 to the Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Trust Fund
  • $50 to American Traffic Solutions
  • $26 to the City of Fort Lauderdale

These numbers could change with more information. If 20 percent of people don't ever pay their ticket, for example, distribution goes much further in the city's favor. I'm still waiting to hear back about that information, but one thing is certain -- every time a red-light ticket goes out, you pay $158, and the city, on average, gets about 26 bucks.



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