LAFAYETTE — A proposed amended contract with the company that manages Lafayette’s red-light camera enforcement program would keep in place the possibility of expanding the program and provide local government with a bigger share of ticket revenue.
The amended contract with Redflex Traffic Systems was introduced Tuesday at the Lafayette City-Parish Council by the city-parish administration. It is up for a final council vote May 15.
The contract renewal will come up for a vote later this month at the same meeting when the council is scheduled to consider a proposal to end the red-light camera program.
The cameras snap photos of a driver and license plate when a vehicle speeds through the intersection or runs a red light; the alleged violator is mailed a citation.
The vans, which use photo enforcement similar to the red-light cameras, are deployed at various locations at the discretion of the Police Department. The contract would raise the number of mobile speed enforcement vans from two to a minimum of three.
Supporters of the program, including City-Parish President Joey Durel, argue the red-light cameras have improved public safety.
Opponents say the program’s main goal is to generate revenue for the city.
If the council leaves the program in place, the proposed contract renewal keeps the door open for expansion, though the installation of new cameras would be at the discretion of Redflex, which would pay to install them.
There are 12 intersections monitored by red-light cameras in Lafayette; no new intersections have been added to the program since 2009.
The amended contract lists 17 possible locations for new cameras at intersections along Ambassador Caffery Parkway, Evangeline Thruway, Johnston Street, Pinhook Road and Congress Street.
The intersections were selected based on the history of right-angle crashes, or “T-bone” crashes, said Tony Tramel, City-Parish director of traffic and transportation.
He said most of those 17 intersections were listed as possible installation sites in the initial contract, but there have been delays in obtaining the needed state permits for cameras at those locations.
“We’ve had 17 more intersections on the books for five years,” Durel said.
Councilman William Theriot questioned whether the new contract should limit the program rather than set the stage for expansion.
“How far are we going to go? Are we going to have cameras at every intersection in Lafayette,” asked Theriot, who, with councilmen Jared Bellard and Andy Naquin, have proposed ending the automated enforcement program.
The 12 intersections with cameras account for 6 percent of the 190 intersections with traffic signals in Lafayette, according to the Traffic and Transportation Department.
The amended contract would raise the share of red-light camera ticket revenue that flows to the city-parish.
The proposed contract amendment would end the sliding scale system and give the city-parish a flat rate of 60 percent of all paid violations, effectively raising the city-parish’s share. Since the program began in 2007, the city-parish’s share of revenue has been based on a sliding scale that varies by the type and number of citations.
Under that system, the city-parish has received about 54 percent of the total funds and Redflex has received 46 percent, with about $5.7 million flowing to the city-parish and about $4.9 million to Redflex as of the end of 2011, according to figures provided by the city’s Traffic and Transportation Department.