Detroit City Council moves forward with plan to turn on lights in city

Plan would establish public lighting authority in Detroit


DETROIT – The Detroit City Council is moving forward with a plan to establish a public lighting authority to help turn the lights back on in the city.

The authority would have the power to borrow money to make the costly repairs and upgrades needed to the lighting infrastructure.

"If you ask your average Detroiter we probably won't care what the long term cost will be, we just want to not be in the dark," said Detroit City Council President Charles Pugh.

State lawmakers approved legislation for the creation of the public lighting authority back in December.

It would allow Detroit to transfer its lighting department to a public authority made up of five members appointed by the city council and the mayor.

"We need to be out of the business of public lighting. We need to turn that over to this authority to get the lights on," said City Council President Pro Tem Gary Brown.

The city says the new public authority will not likely restore power to all 88,000 lights in the city, but they hope to restore power to at least half of those that are out.

The question that remains is which street lights will be targeted for turn on first.

Residents are still skeptical something will get done.

"Somebody needs to do something. I don't know how, when, where, who, but they do need to," said Teresa Junior who lives in Detroit.

The city plans to stat interviewing candidates soon so that the board can begin the process of getting the lights back on in the city.