Houston-area suburb collects millions operating red light cameras after 2019 state ban

HOUSTON – For a city with such a kind name, Humble sure does have drivers upset.

“There is no word to describe it except bulls***,” said Gordon Aaker, who doesn’t like the way the city goes about its business.

Drivers continue to complain to KPRC 2 Investigates over letters they have received from a law firm based in San Antonio.

The message is very clear, “It is very important that you give this matter your immediate attention.”

The letter references a red light ticket that should be paid.

The payment can be mailed not to the City of Humble, but to a P.O. Box in Seattle, Washington.

This all is taking place after the State of Texas outlawed the use of these cameras in 2019. However, they are still used in Humble.

The police department is well aware, but there are many drivers who are not.

The man who heads up the program made that point very clear to us, “We take phone calls daily, questions about the red light program,” said Sergeant Jack Burt.

Jill Bryan lives nearly thirty minutes away from Humble. She reached out to KPRC 2 Investigates after receiving a letter. The city says she ran a red light when she was driving through to visit a friend.

Bryan questions why she even got the letter if the cameras are outlawed, “I felt very threatened that my credit was going to be compromised because of it.”

After she contacted KPRC this spring, we put her in contact directly with the City Manager of Humble.

The message from him was clear and to the point, “To ignore the letter and that it would not be put on my credit, and I didn’t have to pay it,” said Bryan.

You read correctly, “ignore the letter.”

Aaker feels the city is not being upfront with the public.

“I’m used to working with attorneys, and I didn’t know how much meat and potatoes this thing had in it, but it’s just a scam,” said Aaker.

Bryan questions what the city is pulling in for each alleged infraction.

“Obviously, the City of Humble, or whoever this company is, is getting a lot of money,” said Bryan.

Humble admits it has collected over $11,000,000 since the law went into effect in 2019. The city also claims it sent $3,500,000 to the state per Texas law.

How can Humble still do this?

The answer is in House Bill 1631, the same bill that banned the cameras.

In a statement, Humble’s City Manager tells KPRC 2 Investigates a provision in the law allows the city to operate under an ”existing program and any contract for the operation of the program until the expiration date of the contract as it existed on May 7, 2019.”

Which in Humble’s case means the contract they entered with a collection party years before the ban remains in effect until the current deal expires in June 2024.

But once again, drivers are not required to pay the infraction according to the city.

This said, it is important to highlight that as Humble continues to run its program, there are drivers who continue to run red lights.

Which is the only reason a letter is sent in the first place, “It’s for safety purposes. That is why we had this program,” he added.

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