I emailed the following letter to every member of the Bastrop City Council. I will post an update if they reply.
Open Letter to Bastrop City Council About Red Light Cameras
I would like to know your justification for the red light cameras in Bastrop. The official reasoning I’ve read is supposedly to increase safety. However, Statesmen articles indicate accidents have increased at the intersections where the cameras were added.
Is Bastrop keeping track of the number of accidents in regards to determining if the usage of red light cameras should be renewed? Obviously cities, like Houston, have decided that it was not a worthwhile pursuit.
Beyond the unsettling big brother implications, Bastrop has added these cameras to red light areas along the highway with higher speed limits. I’ve already found it a boggling usage of taxpayer money how once a flyover is completed, the city adds a new set of stop lights right outside this area.
It would appear that it would be cheaper for taxpayers to find a way to divert around the city than to continue to play this illogical game with the highway. While this isn’t a logical conclusion, it does appear that Bastrop uses and abuses its relation to the highway to slow the flow of traffic and increase its coffers.
The other unsettling component is the fact that there is no uniform duration for how long a yellow light lasts. In fact, several municipalities have been caught shortening the duration of their yellow cycles.
My last objection to your usage concerns the fee. Texas law states that the maximum fine is $75. The Arizona company you outsource the red light camera project to charges a $4 processing fee regardless of whether a credit card or bank transfer is used. The latter transfer doesn’t cost their site money. Charging a $4 processing fee, while likely technically legal, appears to skirt the intent of having a law stating the maximum red light camera fine can be $75.