Isett Explains Why Red Light Funds Not Appropriated - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

11/13/07

Isett Explains Why Red Light Funds Not Appropriated

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Thousands of dollars in red light camera revenue is sitting in Austin. As NewsChannel 11 told you Monday night, that money is supposed to go to area trauma centers, but an oversight at the Capitol has those funds doing nothing.

State Representative Carl Isett says he doesn't know whether this was intentional or not, but he hopes to get the money where it belongs as soon as possible.

"When we were doing the appropriation process and doing the red light camera legislation, no one could estimate with any accuracy how much money it would generate," Isett said. 

That's just one of the reasons he says law makers didn't appropriate the money going into the red light camera fund.  Today, that means thousands of dollars can't be spent on state trauma centers.

"Today there's only $24,000 in the fund, so it's not like millions of dollars is sitting around unused," Isett said. 

He also says they didn't know whether camera legislation would even pass.

"If there was a high probability of that, somebody probably should have put a contingency writer in the bill, but that was not done for whatever reason. Whether it was an oversight on the people who drafted the bill or authored the bill, or it was left out of the appropriation bill because we didn't have any certainty as to the amount," Isett said. 

University Medical Center Vice President Greg Bruce tells us most trauma centers run at a loss. He says UMC didn't put any extra money in their budget, so the delay is not hurting them, but he says extra money would help, especially rural centers.

"We would like to get that money to them as quickly as possible," Isett said. 

Representative Isett says the Governor, Lt. Governor, and Speaker could use their authority to move the money now, or law makers may have to wait for the 2009 session.  That's also when they'll be taking a closer look at the cameras, and possible new policy.

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