Court ruling may impact the future of red light cameras in Charlotte

CHARLOTTE — A recent ruling by the North Carolina Supreme Court could have a big impact on Charlotte’s streets in the future.

Justices heard a challenge to a case out of Greenville involving red light cameras. They ruled that local governments did not violate state laws by using the citation penalties to cover the cost of the program.

A lower court had ruled that schools in Pitt County didn’t keep enough of the proceeds from the tickets. With the reversal from the Supreme Court, other municipalities might be able to afford a red light program that was previously unaffordable.

The city of Charlotte had red light cameras from 1998 until 2006, when city leaders suspended the program over changes to where proceeds should be directed.

State law requires 90% of proceeds to go to the school board. In 2006, the last year of operation, the city generated $1.3 million from citations, but the red light program cost $910,000 to run.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department hasn’t asked for red light cameras. City leaders in Charlotte haven’t given an update on their plans after the recent court ruling.

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