Tampa gives 5-year extension to red light cameras

Whether you like them or not, red light cameras are here to stay after the Tampa City Council voted 4 to 3 in favor of a resolution extending their use for five more years.

Some argue it's just a money grab for the city, but others believe the cameras save lives.

"I just think it's a revenue generator," Dee Loach said. "I don't see where it has cut down on red-light runners."

Some drivers are not on board with the cameras. There are more than 50 of them scattered throughout the city at some of the busiest intersections.

Council member Charlie Miranda believe they work in deterring dangerous drivers.

"I was very impressed by the amount of people that do not get a ticket the second time," Miranda said.

More than 80 percent of the ticketed drivers are not repeat offenders, which means they only received one ticket. Council members who voted for the proposal say that's proof it's working, but Frank Reddick doesn't agree.

"It's all about greed," Reddick said. "And it's all about the money and this is what bothered me and my constituents."

Last year, the city issued more than 79,000 red-light camera tickets, which brought in about $3.3 million.

Reddick argues people running red lights isn't the problem; instead, it's the lack of left-turn signals.

"You're out there in the middle of an intersection trying to make a left turn," Reddick said. "And you get a caution light and you're trying to turn and the camera flashes and you get charged. I got charged that way."

Last May, the Florida Supreme Court ruled in favor of the cameras, arguing they're still legal.

"Guess what? When you get a speeding ticket, you also get a fine," Miranda continued. "Is that grabbing money? Or is that trying to save lives?"

The red light cameras have been a heated debate in the mayoral race, with candidate Jane Castor saying she's for them and David Straz promising to put an end to them -- which he can do if elected.

The current plan runs for the next five years, but if the new mayor wants to shut it down, he or she can call for a vote to do so by giving a 30-day notice.