COLUMBIA — The city hopes to have red-light cameras installed at two intersections by the end of the week, though negotiations with the Missouri Department of Transportation have slowed the process.
The intersections of Stadium Boulevard and Worley Street and Broadway and Providence Road are both maintained by MoDOT. The city needs permission from MoDOT to make any changes to the intersections.
City spokeswoman Toni Messina said city officials were keeping in contact with Gatso USA, the company providing and operating the camera systems. Messina said she was hopeful that an agreement could be reached so Gatso USA could have the cameras installed on time.
“We’re certainly hoping to get them (the cameras) up by the end of the week,” Messina said.
The two red-light cameras will be the first of 16 to be installed at Columbia intersections. Assistant City Manager Tony St. Romaine said he hopes to have all 16 cameras installed by this time next year.
St. Romaine said the city might require “additional resources” to enforce tickets for red-light violations. A law enforcement officer must certify each ticket, and it’s possible that the city will have to hire more officers for that purpose. The city plans to gradually implement the cameras and over time determine if more employees are needed to enforce violations, he said.
“We obviously want to make sure we have the right processes in place to make sure things go smoothly,” St. Romaine said. “We want to start out slow.”
St. Romaine said the city also wants to avoid the legal problems experienced by some cities that use red-light cameras. He cited Arnold as an example of a city that has had problems with car owners receiving tickets for violations that occurred when they weren’t driving the vehicle. St. Romaine said that the cameras will take photos of the driver when a red-light violation occurs, which should alleviate the problem.
“A lot of cities have had similar issues, and we didn’t want to have the same problems,” he said.
According to St. Romaine, tickets will still be sent to the registered owner of the vehicle. Because the cameras will take photos of the driver, vehicle owners can transfer liability to the person driving at the time of the accident.
All of the red-light cameras will be owned and operated by Gatso USA. Red-light violators will be fined $120, and Gatso USA will receive $41 of that fee. St. Romaine said that even though many people might think the city is implementing the cameras to make money, the cameras are needed to ensure safer driving.
“We want to change people’s driving behavior,” St. Romaine said.