Whether or not you are from the Detroit area, you may well have wondered about the ongoing issue of the street lights.
There’s been constant discussion about the fact that at least half the lights never come on. This is not a great selling point for a city with a major crime problem.
So, why doesn’t Detroit just replace the lights? How expensive can new bulbs be? Well, it turns out that isn’t the real problem.
A few weeks ago, I talked to Glenda Price, a member of the city’s financial advisory board. She had just had a tour of the lighting department. She told me “the wonder is that any of the lights come on at all.” Some of the equipment is a century old.
Not only is it worn out, there is no way to get spare parts. So technicians jury-rig things, and cannibalize some machinery to keep other parts going.
But there’s only so much they can do. There’s hope now, however. Yesterday, Governor Rick Snyder came to Detroit to sign legislation allowing the city to appoint an authority that will be able to issue bonds, raise money, and fix the lighting system.
That was one of the less controversial results of the legislature’s now-famous lame duck session. Additionally, the governor signed a law making it easier for the Downtown Development Authority to help Mike Ilitch build the new hockey arena and entertainment complex he wants in the city.