HOUSTON—Since Proposition 3 has failed, Houstonians decided to vote and put the breaks on red-light cameras. Those cameras have issued thousands of tickets and collected over $40 million in fines over the last four years.
However, voters were clearly divided on the issue. 52-percent thought they were a bad idea while 48-percent voted to keep them up.
"More than 22,000 Houstonians signed a petition for proposition 3, and the city attorney clearly weighed in and said we absolutely had to put it on the ballot," said Mayor Annise Parker a day after election Tuesday.
Houstonian Jorge Rodriguez said he's happy the red-light cameras will be gone because of all the headaches they've caused hi,
"They done gave me a couple tickets that I thought should not have been, you know," said Rodrgiuez. "I got through there in enough time or made a turn, and I made a wide turn one time and it took a picture of me. [Receiving those tickets cost me] $50 dollars [for] each one."
Parker said the city's contract with the company that turns these red-light cameras doesn't expire until 2014. Parker can't pinpoint an exact date when the red-light cameras will officially be removed until her staff first meets with legal departments and reviews contract details.
"All the money that was generated by the red-light cameras went right back into the Houston Police Department, so it is a budgetary impact on the Houston Police Department," said Parker.
Since HPD will have to absorb that hit, Parker said she will try do do it in a way that does not impact public safety.
"We're not going to lay off firefighters. We're not going to lay off police officers but the ability to fund everything else in the city is in question," said Parker.
As many wait anxiously until that question is answered, some residents are disappointed to see the red-light cameras go.
"I think the cameras are just better to have there rather than real people. I think it does saves life," said Houstonian, Mimi Do.
"The red-light cameras got your license plate, so you could have borrowed my car and ran through a red-light camera and I'm in jeopardy of losing my registration," Jolanda "Jo" Jones, who holds the Houston City Council At-Large Position 5, said.
"That's not fair."
39 News contacted the mayor's office to find out what Proposition 3 means for tax payers down the road, and they said it's hard to say until all details are finalized.