Red Light Camera Proceeds Not Going Where First Thought

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AUSTIN, Texas -- Proceeds from the fines paid by red-light runners isn't going toward its intended purpose of funding medical trauma centers.

Officials say that's because legislative budget writers didn't appropriate money for the program. State lawmakers recently permitted the use of red-light cameras, largely because supporters said half of the fine money would be dedicated to emergency rooms and trauma care centers.

But lawmakers didn't appropriate the money going into the red-light fund, meaning it can't be spent. The fund wasn't expected to build up substantially until next summer.

Dinah Welsh is the Texas Hospital Association's senior director of public policy. She says hospitals were disappointed by the decision.

Budget writers say the state's keeping the funds to cover potential unbudgeted Medicaid costs and for possible use to attract matching federal health care money.