Fort Worth has joined a number of cities across the DFW Metroplex in shutting down their red-light cameras, and the city’s head administrator isn’t happy about it.
On June 4, the city of Fort Worth released a statement announcing that it “has terminated its Automated Red-Light Camera Enforcement Program” which includes “58 cameras at 44 intersections.”
“The City of Fort Worth is no longer collecting and/or operating any aspects of the program.”
The decision comes days after Gov. Greg Abbott signed House Bill 1631, legislation written by State Rep. Jonathan Stickland (R–Hurst) and sponsored by State Sen. Bob Hall (R–Edgewood), banning city governments from using red-light cameras.
Ridding the state of these cameras has proven to be very popular with both Democrat and Republican voters.
This decision is a relief for drivers in the Fort Worth area, as the program confiscated over $9 million in revenue from drivers during Fiscal Year 2018. Of that, $3.6 million went into the city’s general revenue fund, a fact that has City Manager David Cooke threatening core services like police and fire in order to make up the difference.
“Whether it’s parks, libraries, police, [or] fire, it means you have to find that money from somewhere else, because it’s math at the end of the day,” Cooke stated.
However, the city’s general fund expenses were over $678 million in Fiscal Year 2018, making the red light camera revenues roughly half a percent of the entire general fund.
It’s also expected that an additional $6-10 million in franchise fees from internet and cable businesses won’t be collected, as the Texas Legislature eliminated those as well. This would bring the expected total to $14 million that the city won’t confiscate from taxpayers, which is roughly over 2 percent of the FY 2018 General Fund, a loss that Cooke alleges will threaten police and fire.
By the time of publication, Cooke had not yet responded to an inquiry from Texas Scorecard if police and fire would be the first place that Fort Worth would look for cuts of 2 percent.
Other cities across the metroplex that have ended their red-light camera programs are:
- Balch Springs
- Cedar Hill
- Grand Prairie
- North Richland Hills
- Haltom City
- Little Elm
- Richland Hills
- University Park