Lawmakers need to fix glitch in law

April 16, 2009 4:43:11 PM PDT
State lawmakers have a long to-do list in Austin. Part of that list includes figuring out where to spend millions of dollars generated from red light cameras.[SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

Some of that money was initially promised to go to trauma centers across the state. But lawmakers must clean up legislation before that can happen.

Lawmakers thought they got it right the first time around, but they didn't quite. About two years ago, lawmakers passed legislation that stated any Texas city that uses red light cameras would actually take half of the revenue generated and give it to the state. The state would then spend that money on trauma care.

Apparently, they got the law passed but the legislation didn't include language spelling out how to disperse those funds. The city of Houston noticed the issue and notified lawmakers, who are now working to try to change that.

"We made those members aware that were involved in the bill, OK, look, this enabling language is not in there," said Houston Director of Government Affairs Ann Travis. "We need it in there right away, because we're continuing to collect the money. We just need the money to actually go to the trauma centers."

Across the state, there are a number of smaller communities that use red light cameras but Houston by far contributes more money than anyone else -- several million dollars into this fund. There's a total of about $9 million in the fund. After this bill passes that money should actually go to the trauma centers across the state.

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