Less money from red-light fines coming to city

Red-light camera at the intersection of Grant Av. and Roosevelt Blvd. in NE Philly. Ray M. Jones / Staff Photographer
Red-light camera at the intersection of Grant Av. and Roosevelt Blvd. in NE Philly. Ray M. Jones / Staff Photographer (Inq Jones)
Posted: April 06, 2013

Philadelphia's red-light cameras continue to provide millions for road projects around the state, but less of the money is coming back to the city.

PennDOT announced Friday that cameras at 21 intersections in Philadelphia generated $4.7 million in fines last year after expenses, but only $1.5 million will be used for Philadelphia road projects.

The rest will be distributed around the state.

Until now, Philadelphia received half of the revenue from its red-light cameras. But the state legislature changed the law in 2012 to allow an eight-member panel to hand out the money to applicants from around the state, based not on a 50-50 split but on perceived benefits and effectiveness, costs, local and regional impacts and cost sharing.

Since cameras were first installed in 2005, Philadelphia motorists have paid more than $60 million in fines from the red-light cameras. Cameras are now in place at 24 intersections in the city, and the legislature last year authorized other municipalities to begin installing such cameras.

The cameras are designed to decrease red-light running and improve safety at high-crash intersections. The program, in Philadelphia and in other states, has generated controversy, with critics arguing that the cameras are more about generating revenue than about safety.

Most of the money from the $100 fines goes to pay the expenses of operating the cameras and collecting the money: $10 million was collected in the year ended March 2012, and $7 million went to pay expenses.

About $4.6 million was paid to American Traffic Solutions Inc., the Scottsdale, Ariz., company that installs and operates the cameras. An additional $600,000 was paid to debt-collection services to pursue unpaid fines.

PennDOT said Friday that $4.7 million from last year's fines statewide will go to 43 municipalities, including Philadelphia and 16 other local towns.

The payments include:

- $1.5 million to Philadelphia for unspecified safety improvements.

- $60,000 to Bensalem Township for traffic signal improvements at 54 intersections.

- $390,000 to Doylestown Township for traffic signal improvements at 14 intersections.

- $17,500 to East Rockhill Township for traffic signal improvements at the intersection of Route 313 and Route 563.

- $21,000 to Warrington Township for rumble strips on two township roads.

- $93,425 to East Whiteland Township for traffic signal improvements at 12 intersections.

- $184,000 to Franklin Township, Chester County, for traffic-signal installation at the intersection of Route 896 and Route 841.

- $10,000 to London Britain Township, Chester County, for installation of a centerline rumble strip on Penn Green Road.

- $42,500 to Phoenixville to retime traffic signal systems.

- $45,000 to Chadds Ford Township for Ring Road traffic signal improvements.

- $55,000 to Concord Township for fiber-optic installation to connect traffic signals to the township building.

- $150,000 to Haverford Township for adaptive traffic signal improvements on Route 3 (West Chester Pike) and Route 1.

- $35,000 to Franconia Township, Montgomery County, for traffic-signal improvements at the intersection of Allentown Road and Lower Road.

- $216,000 to Lansdale for traffic signal modernization.

- $250,000 to Lower Merion Township for traffic signal improvements on St. Asaph's Road.

- $72,572 to Upper Dublin Township for pedestrian crosswalks at the intersection of Route 152 (Limekiln Pike) and Dillon Road.

- $85,400 to Upper Merion Township for installation of a traffic control system at two intersections on South Gulph Road.


Contact Paul Nussbaum at 215-854-4587 or pnussbaum@phillynews.com.

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