Court denies challenge to Phila. red-light-camera contract

Red-light cameras at Roosevelt Boulevard and Southampton Road, one of 25 monitored locations in Philadelphia.
Red-light cameras at Roosevelt Boulevard and Southampton Road, one of 25 monitored locations in Philadelphia. (MICHAEL S. WIRTZ / Staff Photographer)
Posted: June 01, 2014

The Philadelphia Parking Authority can proceed with the new operator of its red-light camera program, according to a Commonwealth Court decision announced Friday.

A three-judge panel denied a request by American Traffic Solutions Inc. of Tempe, Ariz., to void PPA's contract with Xerox State & Local Solutions Inc., a unit of Xerox Corp., of Norwalk, Conn.

PPA Executive Director Vince Fenerty said in a statement that the aim of the camera program "had always been to reduce red-light running and save lives," and that the ruling would allow the transition to Xerox to continue.

The ATS contract ended Feb. 14, but it provided for a "winding-down period" of up to six months to keep the system running during the switch to another vendor.

A PPA spokesman said 27 intersections in Philadelphia were monitored by red-light cameras, some of which have been transferred to Xerox. The rest will change over the summer.

ATS spokesman Charles Territo said the company would review the ruling before deciding on a possible appeal.

"While we are disappointed with the court's decision, we have and will continue to honor and abide by the terms of our contract," Territo wrote via e-mail.

According to the order by Commonwealth Court President Judge Dan Pellegrini, the PPA issued the first contract for the red-light camera program to Mulvihill Intelligent Control Systems in 2004. ATS later acquired Mulvihill and has operated the system since.

In fiscal 2013, ATS received $5.2 million from the PPA.

But with the ATS contract scheduled to expire, PPA sought other bids and awarded the next contract to Xerox on Dec. 23.

ATS protested the decision and Fenerty denied the protest. ATS appealed to Commonwealth Court, which on Feb. 14 denied an emergency request to stay the PPA decision, pending the appeal that was denied on Friday.

In the last seven years, Philadelphia cameras have caught 787,000 drivers running red lights, resulting in $72 million in fines. The money is used to pay the camera vendor and other expenses, with the remainder going to a state fund for highway-safety projects around Pennsylvania.


Inquirer staff writer Paul Nussbaum contributed to this article.

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