10/9/2007New Mexico: Photo Enforcement Generating Millions
Albuquerque, New Mexico raked in $10.6 million in revenue from its combination red light and speed cameras.
Albuquerque, New Mexico's photo enforcement program has generated more than $10.6 million in revenue over the past two years. The city's Office of Internal Audit and Investigations examined accounting records last month to determine exactly how much money went into the pockets of the city and how much went to the Australian contractor Redflex which controls the program.
The Albuquerque began issuing automated tickets in May 2005 with three speed camera vans funded by gas tax dollars in the form of a state grant. The program currently uses 19 intersection cameras that are capable of issuing both red light and speeding citations. The so-called "speed on green" feature ensures that motorists will not be able to adjust their speed to make it through a short yellow light without getting a ticket. The feature has been a great success with Redflex issuing a total of 80,596 speeding tickets and 62,049 red light tickets between October 1, 2004 and August 10, 2007 (Before May 2005 warning notices were issued; warnings and mailed citations were not distinguished in the figures).
All together, the city collected $10,611,397 in revenue and handed over $2,844,920 to Redflex. This left the city with between $5.8 and $7.8 million in net profit. The precise figure is not known as officials charged as photo enforcement expenses a number of part and full-time police officer salaries as well as the entire administrative hearing office budget. The audit report sidestepped the question of whether the ticketing program has had any beneficial effect on traffic accidents. It mentioned that police could claim only two of the nineteen intersections with cameras might have seen a decrease in accidents.