On Tuesday the Lafayette City Parish Council will hear a presentation in opposition to electronic traffic enforcement from the program director of the Transportation Research Institute Inc. Bill Triay of Metairie, along with Kenner resident Richard Brown — the pair’s names often pop up together in Times-Picayune coverage of Jefferson Parish’s red-light camera program — will address the council at the behest of Councilman William Theriot, one of three council members who have been angling to let Lafayette Consolidated Government’s contract with Redflex expire this summer, which would kill the red-light camera program.
According to the organization’s 2009 IRS Form 990 — a financial disclosure by nonprofits required by the feds — the august-sounding Transportation Research Institute Inc., based in New Orleans, has no revenue or expenses and appears to comprise three people including Triay. A 27-page document produced by Triay’s group and provided to The Ind by a local Redflex opponent makes an astonishing claim: “Our streets are now more dangerous. Supporters of Red Light Cameras all say it’s about safety and not money, but in other cities where the cameras have been installed for a longer time, the people have caught on, and 11 states have banned them because they bring little safety and actually increase total accidents and injuries.”
The claim is in stark opposition to data provided by supporters of the cameras, notably Traffic Director Tony Tramel, suggesting that the cameras help change driver behavior and lead to a dramatic reduction in collisions.
On Tuesday of this week the council approved a resolution giving City-Parish President Joey Durel a green light to begin negotiating LCG’s contract renewal with Redflex, but the council will still vote in May on the proposed ordinance allowing the current contract to expire, and council members who oppose the red-light cameras didn’t tip their hand in approving the resolution: The vote in favor was unanimous, although it appears a lock that at least Theriot, Jared Bellard and Andy Naquin will vote to end the program.