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Palm Beach Failing to Make a Profit with Red-light Traffic Cameras

Big Brother is watching. But Big Brother owes money.

Those traffic light cameras that flash two seconds after you've run the red were supposed to pay bug for local governments. Instead, not so much is the case

According to county administrators, the county owes more than what it's taking in. 

The 10 cameras that were installed at five intersections throughout the county last year have generated $308,877. 

However, the county owed American Traffic Solutions $456,957 for that period.

Since the county's contract doesn't require them to pay the difference until the cameras turn a profit, they won't necessarily lose money. The traffic light cameras won't make any either.

"We can't lose money," County Administrator Bob Weisman said. "We aren't making any money off of this process either, because we aren't generating the citations that were expected."


If the system were to break even, West Palm Beach would owe American Traffic Solutions $199,425. But the city won't have to pay if the cameras continue to lose money.

According to spokesman Elliot Cohen, only one of the city's seven red light cameras has made a profit since the system was installed in 2010.

Boynton Beach, Palm Springs and Juno Beach, who all have a contract with American Traffic Solutions as well, have all made a profit this year.

County commissioners are expected to discuss the cameras at the end of the month. Commissioner Burt Aaronson said that the goal was never to generate revenue.

"It was about saving lives, " he said. "It was never intended to be a 'gotcha' thing."

Meanwhile, Palm Beach County officials say that, in order to cover the over 4-grand-per-camera fee, they would have to hand out 64 traffic citations a month.

So be sure to smile real big next time you run a yellow in West Palm Beach. 

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Chris Joseph
Contact: Chris Joseph

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