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what is photo radar really costing? | photo radar contract 1 | photo radar contract 2

What is photo radar really costing?

Taxpayers will probably never know the whole answer...

A June 21, 1996, Ministry of Transportation and Highways (MOTH) press release (File No. 182A/96) states:

"The following are preliminary cost estimates for photo radar:"
A Ministry of Finance internal "Question and Answer" document for their media relations staff obtained by The Vancouver Sun through a Freedom of Information (FOI) request states:
"Total capital and operating costs associated with the Photo-Radar program are anticipated to be $35.4 million in 1996/97. Of this amount, $13.3 million is funded within the Ministry of Attorney General for police and court costs associated with the program. The balance, $22.1 million was budgeted for vans, cameras, computer systems and equipment and program operating costs. The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia will be a major beneficiary of the program through reduced accident claims, and as a result has assumed responsibility for funding this portion of the Photo-Radar program."

"Revenue assumptions for 1996/97 of $65 million were based upon a starting date of July 1, 1996. The program was intended to ramp-up for the first 3 months and be fully operational by October 1, 1996."

An audit of the Traffic Safety Initiative released March 20, 1997, states that original Treasury Board approved Development Costs were $9,172,000, but that Estimated Costs to Complete had increased three-fold to $30,930,000. Overall TSI program figures (including photo radar) were originally $31,661,000, but then projected to be $62,247,000 to complete.

It should be noted that advertising costs ("Speed is Killing Us") are not included in the above figures, but has previously been projected to be around $8 million.

Figures obtained through FOI in 1998 indicate some more recent costing:

Confused? so are we!

Photo radar Contract 1
Freedom of information does not exist in BC. After almost two years of stalling, the provincial government continues to refuse to release any useful information about the photo radar contracts with American Traffic Systems (ATS). While we understand that limited portions may be harmful to the business interests of ATS, or that some data is sensitive for police purposes -- to date the taxpayers have seen less than 4% of the substance of the first BC photo radar contract, and only slightly more of the second. Few useful facts or figures on costs or obligations have been made available.

Why is it not being released? A few possibilities come to mind:

The following is a chronology of events surrounding the attempt to get public access to the first contract:
Photo radar Contract 2
A record of SENSE's attempts to get the entire second photo radar contract relased...

 Rev: 1999.08.01 contact SENSEtext map of SENSE web siteback to SENSE home pageback to top of this page