by Tom Finkel
The City of St. Louis is one step closer to joining the growing number of municipalities in Missouri to install cameras at intersections in order to bust red-light runners. But when motorists can expect to actually encounter the devices remains a mystery.
In August a five-person selection committee composed of representatives from Mayor Francis Slay's office, the Board of Aldermen and the city's Comptroller's Office awarded the contract for the cameras to Arizona-based American Traffic Solutions (ATS). The nomination marks the second time the city has selected ATS to install cameras that will photograph vehicles that run red lights.
Last December the St. Louis Board of Police Commissioners awarded the contract to ATS, but that agreement was thrown out a month later following repeated queries from Riverfront Times as to how the police agency awarded the deal. In February the RFT reported that the police failed to assemble a selection committee to review bids for the cameras and did not check references before awarding the contract to ATS. At the time, competing vendors also accused ATS of using lobbyists to help draft both the ordinance that allowed for the use of the cameras in the city and the technical guidelines the police used to award the contract.
Deputy City Counselor Steven Kovac, who chaired the selection committee, says he can't address specifics as to when and where the cameras may be installed or the fees ATS will collect from tickets issued as a result of the cameras. He referred calls for specific information on the contract to Peter Mosanyi, also with the City Counselor's Office. Mosanyi says he'll release information when he receives a formal public records request. -Chad Garrison