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NMPIRG Education Fund
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Eddie Garcia

It could be the final nail in the coffin for the red light cameras.

In a 50 page report, The New Mexico Public Interest Research Group (NMPIRG) said the red light cameras are cash cows for its operator Redflex.

"Cities should view camera systems only as a way to make roads safer and never as a way to increase revenues," said NMPIRG spokesperson Alex Corkett.

The report adds fuel to the argument that the cameras should be removed from intersections across the city.

It's no secret Albuquerque City Councilor Dan Lewis wants the cameras out.

In early November he said he will introduce a measure to get rid of the cameras for good.

"By ending the program, we engineer these intersections for safety and not revenue," said Lewis.

Lewis said simple solutions, like extending yellow lights, can be effective and much cheaper than the cameras.

“The violators were not paying for this program we were losing up to $100,000 a month that the program was coming back to the city and we weren't able to pay our bills,” he said.

Lewis said Redflex made upwards of $18 million in profit, more than twice Albuquerque’s $7 million gross from the cameras.

Mayor Richard Berry said his administration cut lots of fat from the system and made the red light program more streamlined.

However, on October 3 Albuquerque voters rejected the city’s use of the red light cameras.

"We got them to the point where we thought it was about safety not about dollars,” said Mayor Richard Berry. “We took the politics out of it but then we asked the voters their opinion and at the end of the day that's what we do, we work for voters and when the voters said no - as a mayor, for me that's all that needed to be done."

The city council is going to vote November 7 on whether to get rid of the cameras.

If it passes, it will still take more than a month to terminate the contract with Redflex.

After all that, the company will pick up their equipment and leave.

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