As College Station is expanding its red light camera program, a state representative is trying to stop it.
A Lubbock legislator has filed a bill that would end red-light cameras in Texas, and a local driver is offering help.
Lubbock did away with its red-light cameras last year when the citizen group that oversaw the cameras, determined the cameras hadn't made Lubbock's streets any safer.
At that time, the cameras also hadn't made Lubbock any money. A College Station man is supporting that Lubbock legislator; he says money is what the cameras are all about.
Jim Ash has been fighting College Station's red-light cameras in court, through a website, and with his G-P-S, since being issued a citation last fall.
Now he may be taking his case all the way to the Texas capitol.
State Representative Carl Isett, of Lubbock has filed a bill to outlaw red-light cameras.
"I immediately contacted him," said Jim Ash.
If the bill makes it through committee, "i'll go and testify to what I know about the red-light cameras here in College Station," said Ash.
Ash thinks he knows a lot, because he's been doing a little homework.
"This is about 2000 pages of documents," said Ash. Ash said he obtained the documents through a public records request.
"I've reviewed every single line of it." Ash said the documents all relate to College Station's red-light cameras.
"This stack of paperwork on my desk, 90% of this is about the money and protecting the income stream."
Its a conclusion Ash said he finds infuriating.
"When they tell us its about safety and every document I have says its about revenue, it's wrong."
According to the documents, an e-mail sent in March of 2007 already projected a 50% drop in red-light camera citations, and red-light camera revenue after the first year the cameras were up.
"The only way to maintain the revenue is to double the number of cameras."
Its a plan College Station will move forward with, unless Isett's new bull is successful. Even if the bill dies, Ash will continue to fight red-light cameras.
"Three years, 10 years, I don't care, but every notice of violation they issue increases my constituency and decreases theirs."
Isett's bill may not make it far enough for Ash to testify. Isett proposed a similar bill in 2007, but it was killed in a committee made up entirely of members from cities with red-light cameras.
If Isett's bill passes, as its written now, cities could finish any contract with a red-light camera company, as long as the contract is in place by June 1st of 2009.
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