Houston's Red Light Camera Squabble Not Resolved
Tuesday, November 22, 2011 - 11:27 AM
Litigation continues between the City of Houston and the company that provided red light cameras over whether the city is liable for breaking the contract to turn the cameras off.
Houston City Council put the brakes on red light cameras for good back in August. But a legal fight followed with American Traffic Solutions, the manufacturer of the cameras, over breach of contract claims. ATS is seeking $25 million in damages from the city.
Janice Evans, a spokesperson for Houston Mayor Annise Parker, said: "The cameras are off and cannot be turned back on. Whether they're actually physically still there or not, I had been told that some of them were actually coming down. But, it's beyond that. City council has acted. They've rescinded the ordinance that allowed the city to have the cameras. So, there is no way, that the city can have red light cameras again, because there's no ordinance that exists to allow them anymore."
No agreement has been reached, and the city stands by its original position that the amount owed to ATS is nowhere near what the company says it is. Evans added that there is no way to determine how long the court battle will take. "No, not at this point, but you need to separate the two issues. There's the legal fight, and then there was the council action regarding the cameras. And that ordinance has been rescinded and it no longer exists, and in the meantime then, the legal fight which is separate, is ongoing and will continue."
Mediation efforts were attempted to no avail, but ATS spokesperson Charles Territo said they were encouraged by a preliminary ruling from Federal Judge Lynn Hughes. "The judge has ruled that our contract is still valid," he said. "And so we hope that at some point, we can reach a conclusion to this chapter."
Read more TN coverage about Houston's red light traffic cameras here.