Arizona is canceling a pioneering yet contentious program that positioned speed enforcement cameras along Phoenix-area highways and in vans placed across the state. The curtain will come down on the speed limit enforcement effort this summer, when the state's Department of Public Safety (DPS) allows the program to expire.

The DPS recently sent a letter to the enforcement system operator, Phoenix-based Redflex Traffic Systems, alerting company executives that the contract will not be renewed. The 78 fixed and mobile photo-enforcement monitors will be turned off as of July 16, the day after Redflex's contract with the state ends. Decisions on when and how the cameras will be removed have not yet been determined, Redflex officials said. Not affected by the state's decision are local government photo-enforcement contracts, which rely on speed and red-light cameras.

Former Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano included camera-based traffic enforcement on state roads in the state's 2009 budget. One early critic of the revenue-generating aspects of the camera enforcement system was current Gov. Jan Brewer, who was Arizona's secretary of state at the time.

Conservative state legislators opposed camera enforcement, and last week, lawmakers sent the governor a bill that would ban photo enforcement within 600 feet of a posted speed-limit change, with the exception of a school crossing. The measure, if it becomes law, would go into effect July 29.

With the DPS' decision on the Redflex contract, the bill would be moot on state freeways.

A statement from Redflex' parent company, Redflex Holdings Limited, said:

"Redflex regrets this decision by DPS, and believes it has been an exemplary supplier of traffic safety services, and has delivered safety outcomes for the benefit of all citizens of the state of Arizona. Redflex Traffic Systems, Inc. has contracts with more than 240 U.S. cities, and is the largest provider of digital red light and speed enforcement services in North America. With photo speed programs in nine states and photo red light programs across 21 states, Redflex will continue to provide the best available road safety services and outcomes across the U.S. and around the world."

A Q&A document from the state's auditor general on Arizona's speed photo enforcement system is available. visitors: what do you think of speed enforcement cameras and their impact on traffic safety? Can budget-strapped local and state governments afford to not use speed enforcement cameras? Please offer your comments below.

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