A Green Light for Corruption

I have lived in two cities that boasted red light cameras: College Station, TX and a city here in Missouri. Both camera systems were administered by American Traffic Solutions (which means they take a hefty cut of any fines that are collected). The voters of College Station decided to get rid of them in 2009; the voters here would probably do so, but the law does not allow for voters to place initiatives on the ballot.

I oppose red light cameras because a) they are usually a money grab for cities, b) the data on their effectiveness is mixed, c) there are questions about their constitutionality (they come with an automatic presumption of guilt), d) RLCs are leading us down a slippery slope towards further video law enforcement (including speed cameras), and e) the corrupt conduct of American Traffic Solutions. I'd like to write about this last point. Let's look at some examples:
  • ATS used lobbyists to rig the bidding process in St. Louis to ensure ATS was awarded the contract to install cameras there.
  • ATS used a corrupt local political figure and thousands of dollars in campaign cash to help elect pro-RLC candidates to office in Arnold, MO.
  • ATS runs a Facebook page where they encourage fans to manipulate online polls about RLCs on local news sites. Comments made by RLC opponents on the page are promptly deleted (they also engage in online comment Astroturfing).
  • In response to the success of the anti-RLC website wrongonred.com, started here in Missouri, they started a site called wrongonred.org to mislead people, attacking one of the founders of the former in the process.
This organization is a prime example of the problems that arise when corporations and the government operate in conjunction. Pockets and campaign accounts are lined, the law is abused, ethics go out the window, the will of the people is ignored, and greed reigns. If you hear about ATS trying to come into your community, I recommend that you do what you can to stop them (like Houstonians did).


  1. Thanks for the mention. Here's a link to our ATS Facebook story


    The Cameras Are Coming Down!

  2. Great post!

    Now, with even further collaboration between gov't and unions, the TSA is going to become unionized. Fab.