Suffolk greenlights red light camera extension

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EAST ISLIP -

Suffolk's red-light camera program got the green light to continue for another year after a county committee voted Wednesday to extend the contract of the current vendor.

The move has Legislator Tom Cilmi seeing red. He's among the seven Republican lawmakers who called for an end to the program. They say the contract should have been opened up to a competitive bidding process to save taxpayers money.

"This is one really egregious example of how a contract literally worth tens of millions of dollars could get handed out to one vendor without the normal process and a process that's designed to prevent corruption and designed to give taxpayers the best deal for their money," Cilmi says.

Critics of the red light cameras, including the GOP lawmakers, say the program amounts to a money grab and does not improve safety.

But a spokesperson for County Executive Steve Bellone said, "It is a shame that Tom Cilmi and his Republican colleagues are once again playing politics with public safety."

Residents had a mixed reaction to the extension.

"I'm not a fan of these cameras," says Sal Gambino of East Islip. "I think they're very disruptive. I think they can cause a lot of accidents. You don't know exactly what to do in the intersection as the light is changing."

"I think it's a good idea," says Islip resident Joe Burns. "It'll slow people down a little bit."

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