CLEVELAND -- The City of Cleveland is poised to more than double its total number of fixed and mobile traffic cameras just as Ohio lawmakers are considering banning them.
The city now has 28 fixed and 6 mobile cameras. It's preparing to add 26 new fixed and 9 new mobile cameras.
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It's paying Xerox, the parent company of the firm that's installed and run them since the camera program began, $1.8.million a year in the new deal that replaces existing cameras and adds new ones.
That's half of what it's now paying for half the number of cameras.
What happens if the state outlaws traffic cameras? Nine states already have. The city has an opt-out clause if the cameras are outlawed.
The vendor owns, installs and maintains them and operates the program for a flat fee. There is no investment by the city.
The vendor receives the same amount of money no matter how many citations are issued.
Revenue and tickets have both been declining in recent years.
Cleveland Safety Director Marty Flask offers that and reduced accident numbers as proof the cameras are having the desired impact of making motorists drive slower and safer.
The $5.95 million cameras generated in 2012 is one percent of the city's budget.
Flask offers the cameras are "90 percent about safety, 10 percent about revenue."
The Investigator Tom Meyer found that cameras have not been installed at the most dangerous intersections.
Flask claims new cameras will be located after reviewing accident statistics and the recommendations of council members.
The new mobile cameras should be installed by August. The stationary cameras should be installed by early October.
To those drivers who are convinced the cameras are more about revenue than safety, Flask offers simple advice.
Don't speed and you won't get a ticket.
Governor John Kasich would have to sign a law banning cameras if it passes the legislature.
His spokesman says he's been focused on other issues and has not begun to consider what he would to.