Half of Detroit's Streetlights May Go Out

| by Michael Allen

Facing budget woes, the city of Detroit is planning to eliminate almost half its streetlights.

Currently, 40 percent of Detroit's 88,000 streetlights are broken and the city can’t afford to fix them.

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing has a new plan that would create an authority to borrow $160 million to upgrade and reduce the number of streetlights to 46,000. Maintenance would be contracted out, supposedly saving the city $10 million a year.

While other U.S. cities have gone partially dark to save money, such as Colorado Springs; Santa Rosa, California; and Rockford, Illinois, Detroit would leave a community of 713,000 without streetlights.

Chris Brown, Detroit’s chief operating officer, said in a statement: “You have to identify those neighborhoods where you want to concentrate your population. We’re not going to light distressed areas like we light other areas.”

Detroit’s low income and property-tax revenue have required residents to put up with unreliable busses and small police services throughout the city.