Dec. 8, 2016 02:29 PM

American Traffic Solutions, a Mesa, Ariz.-based company providing a range of services including fleet management and electronic traffic enforcement, is wooing officials with Lafayette Consolidated Government in an effort to wrest away the SafeSpeed/SafeLight contract currently held by Redflex, according to a source close to LCG.

Michot
That source says meetings between ATS representatives and elected officials and others within LCG have been ongoing this week, brokered by former state Sen. Mike Michot, who is a lobbyist with The Picard Group. Michot has close ties to Mayor Joel Robideaux going back beyond their concurrent terms in the Louisiana Legislature where Robideaux served three terms as a state representative before being term-limited and successfully seeking the top elected post in Lafayette Parish. Michot served as Robideaux’s transition chief leading into his swearing-in as mayor last January.

According to our source, dissatisfaction with Redflex, the current contract holder, is driving consideration of switching vendors to administer the city’s traffic light and speed van program. More than $12 million in uncollected fines is the main point of contention. The city pays nothing for the program: Redflex owns the cameras, operates the program and administers the issuance and collection of fines, and gets 40 percent of fines collected; LCG gets the rest. The most recent media reports, from May of this year when the City-Parish Council voted to extend Redflex’s contract with LCG by one year — that contract expires in June 2017 — indicated that LCG in 2015 received $1 million in SafeSpeed fine revenue, which by law is dedicated to the Lafayette Police Department.

The contract for SafeSpeed/SafeLight is a so-called professional services contract, so LCG is not required to put it out for bid, although our source says local government will likely issue a request for proposals from vendors and that Redflex will be welcome to compete for the next contract.

“Redflex has to come in and not only convince the city that it can do a better job than the competitors, but a better job overall than it’s been doing,” our source says. “This goes back to collections; there are millions of dollars left on the table.”