Detroit 1 step closer to creation of public lighting authority

Mich. Senate passes bill allowing Detroit to create public lighting authority

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DETROIT - The Michigan Senate passed a bill on Tuesday to allow Detroit the opportunity to create a public lighting authority.

In a statement Detroit Mayor Bing said "I am extremely pleased that we are one step closer to implementing my Administration's comprehensive public lighting strategy for the City of Detroit.  Today's State Senate passage of a revised lighting bill package is a vote of approval for the creation of a Detroit Public Lighting Authority.  Pending final approval in the State House and the Governor's signature, we will be able to move forward with solving a generations-old lighting problem that hinders public safety and quality of life for the citizens of Detroit.  Additionally, one of the bills in the package would eliminate the rollback of Detroit income taxes — a move that will protect the City from a further decline in revenue."

Detroit Democratic state Rep. Maureen Stapleton — sponsored the House bill.

Read: Mich.House Bill 5688

About 40 Michigan cities that own their own poles and lights would qualify for lighting authorities under the legislation.

In a statement Stapleton said "On any given night in the city of Detroit, forty to sixty percent of our street lights are out, which means Detroiters are in the dark and in danger. This bill is a good first step to making a brighter Detroit a reality. I commend the leadership of Senate Majority Leader Richardville and Senate Democratic Leader Gretchen Whitmer for putting policy before politics today, as this legislation is an example of how bi-partisan cooperation in Lansing can work to benefit citizens and cities around this state, especially the city of Detroit. I look forward to swift approval by my House colleagues and eagerly anticipate getting the lights back on throughout Detroit to improve safety for all visitors and residents."

Read: Future of Detroit lighting depends on Lansing.

Currently only 35,000 of more than 88,000 streetlights actually work in Detroit.

Bing announced his plan for street lighting in August and said passage of three bills were needed to allow the city to invest up to $160 million to modernize the system.

State senators had failed to act previously on the bills the mayor called critical to the plan.

The other measures would allow part of a utility users tax to fund public lighting and the third would eliminate the rollback of Detroit income taxes.

The legislation now moves back to the House for consideration of the Senate amendments.

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