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Extending the time for yellow lights could drop red-light camera revenue

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By James Call

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wfsu/local-wfsu-991285.mp3

Tallahassee, FL – The amount of money collected from red light runners could go down, way down. James Call reports a proposal to lengthen yellow lights at intersections could have a price tag of hundreds of millions of dollars.

Longer yellow lights give motorists more time to stop for a red light and cut down on the number of violations. Florida lawmakers will consider a measure to add a second to the amount of time a traffic light is yellow when switching from green to red. Skip Burnside of the office of Economic and Demographic Research briefed state economists about what happened to state revenue when Georgia made the change.

"The bill passed and became effective in January 2009. In 2009 it went from $14 million to $7 million. From 2009 to 20010 it went from $7 million down to $4.6 million."

Georgia applied the change only at intersections with red light cameras. Separate proposals in the Florida House and Senate would add a second to yellow lights at all intersections. Burnside says when fully implemented it would reduce the amount of money state and local governments collect in fines by 214 million dollars by 2014.