Tucson red-light camera contract on verge of expiring

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By Bryce Potter By Bryce Potter

TUCSON, Ariz. -- It's been controversial since it was launched three years ago, but the city's red-light camera systems could soon go dark.

The operating contract expires on Monday, and its missing a signature.

Red light cameras went up back in 2007 at intersections with a high number of crashes.

Since starting the program Tucson police have seen a decline.

"Cameras in the intersection where we have the cameras, the cameras have been doing the job that we asked that the cameras do, in all those intersections the number of collisions occurring in the intersection are down," said Sgt. Tim Beam from the Tucson Police Department.

Currently seven intersections citywide sport the systems, with one in the works.  But the lights could soon stop flashing.

"Well right now the contract has been signed by ATS the contract was returned to us last week and my understanding it is currently at city procurement waiting to be signed by the director," said Sgt. Beam.

That's because council member Steve Kozachik has some concerns about the program.

"I've got questions about whether or not we should be using these cameras to generate revenue.   I got real questions about whether or not we ought to be adding, and I think we should, adding another second to the amber so people aren't getting flashed for just blowing through intersections," said Kozachik.

Kozachik finds himself the middle of the intersection all by himself on the issue.

"I'm kind of the odd man out on this one.  Nobody else seems to be stepping up and saying that they have concerns about it. The only reason why we expanded from four to eight in terms of the red light camera is because we were losing money on the four so why wouldn't we intuitively lose more money on the eight," said Councilman Kozachik.

If the contract does get signed, the eighth camera would go up at the intersection of Sixth Avenue and Ajo Way.

The renewal deadline for the contract to be signed in August 15. Councilman Kozachik says he'll give the contract a green light after he gets answers to his questions.