Outside Connie Leftwich's east side Detroit home a dull streetlight casts a dimmed glow on one corner while the rest of the block sits in darkness.
It's been that way for so long that she can't remember the last time her street was completely illuminated.
"Two years, at least," said the 64-year-old Leftwich, who hopes the city might finally take action to address the persistent lighting problems on her block and across Detroit.
Three measures that the Michigan Senate might consider Wednesday could put a fix on a fast track, and Detroit Mayor Dave Bing is backing the bills while offering his own prescription — which in some respects is at odds with the legislation — for how such a large infrastructure upgrade could be accomplished.
Bing's push on the lighting issue comes as the first-term mayor faces a chorus of critics as he tries to deal with a budget deficit topping $200 million while gearing up for a possible run for re-election next year. Last month, he used new powers to slash wages and reduce benefits for city workers without going through collective bargaining, angering unions.
Bing has said a vote Wednesday in Lansing on the legislation is crucial if the financially troubled city is to modernize a system where only 35,000 of more than 88,000 streetlights actually work.
But approval of the two House measures and one Senate bill might be delayed until next month when senators return from summer recess.
Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville told The Associated Press last week that the legislation could be taken up Wednesday, but "more likely" in September.
Detroit Democratic state Rep. Maureen Stapleton — sponsor of one of the House bills — said "there still are some pieces people are trying to work out."
"I don't think it helped with the mayor running out with a plan," she said, adding that the legislation calls for a lighting authority to develop a plan for Detroit.
About 40 Michigan cities that own their own poles and lights would qualify for lighting authorities under the legislation she sponsored.
Another measure would allow part of a utility users tax to fund public lighting. The third measure would eliminate the rollback of Detroit income taxes.
Bing announced his plan for street lighting last week and said passage of the bills will allow the city to invest up to $160 million to modernize the system.
Residents and business owners have complained for years about streetlights that don't work. Entire blocks in some neighborhoods are left in the dark at night because overhead lights are blown or busted, or because the wiring has been ripped out of ground-level transformer boxes by thieves looking to make a buck.
There also is a backlog of calls to repair or replace 3,300 burned-out bulbs.
Leftwich keeps her front porch light and a light on the side of her home on. She refuses to venture down her street at night.
"I don't do that. Not on my block," she said. "If you have streetlights, the criminals shoot them out. They stand on the corner and sell drugs."
Improving public safety is part of the urgency for Bing.
Lights currently working in neighborhoods will remain on while the backlog of reported outages would be fixed within six months of the lighting authority's creation as part of his strategy's initial phase. Subsequent phases would see 20,000 unused fixtures in alleys across the city removed, new bulbs and system conversions along streets and neighborhoods, and removal of up to 70 percent of lighting fixtures in some of Detroit's most distressed neighborhoods.
The City Council has to sign off on the plan, which would have a total cost of about $144.5 million. Another $15.5 million would pay for cost overruns or future projects. The entire project is expected to be completed in April 2016.
Detroit would retain ownership.
Stapleton said Bing's plan is premature. She especially is concerned about how members of the city's lighting authority would be selected. Bing would not answer questions last week on the authority's makeup.
Under the lighting authority legislation, the board would be made up of five people appointed by Bing and the Detroit City Council, and that board would create a lighting plan for the city, Stapleton said.
Bing's plan "usurps what we actually put in the bill," she added.
Stapleton also is concerned about how neighborhoods would be serviced.