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The Dripby Mark Reutter2:45 pmFeb 3, 20140

Rawlings-Blake seeks another $160,000 for speed cameras

Funding request for another consultant on this week’s Board of Estimates agenda

Above: Inoperative speed camera on Charles Street in North Baltimore.

Underscoring her determination to get the suspended speed-camera program up and running, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake wants to spend $160,087.12 on a consultant who will conduct “traffic engineering analyses and reviews” for up to 50 speed and red light cameras.

The administration is requesting the funds from the Board of Estimates, which the mayor controls by virtue of her vote and the votes of two appointees.

The request for funds was disclosed in the panel’s agenda issued today for its Wednesday meeting. The request is on top of $237,185 approved by the board last month to pay URS Corp. to prepare operating procedures for a new camera system.

The program, one of the largest in the country, was put on hold last spring following the disclosure by The Baltimore Sun of hundreds of erroneous tickets issued by Xerox State & Local Solutions – followed by escalating problems with Brekford Corp., the new vendor hired to fix the errors.

After spending $2.2 million on new Brekford cameras last winter, the city terminated its contract with the vendor in December, paying a $600,000 settlement cost. The Brekford equipment is currently in storage at the city Department of Transportation.

Despite repeated waves of controversy and criticism, the mayor has vowed to restart the speed-camera program, saying it is essential for the safety of children.

Century Engineering will conduct “field investigation/evaluations and support services as needed.” The Hunt Valley-based company is on retainer by the city to provide consulting services on road reconstruction and resurfacing projects.

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