Struggling US Cities Turn Off the Lights

Towns nationwide get a little darker
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Dec 30, 2011 9:14 AM CST
Some cities are struggling to find the money to power their streetlights.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – For a number of cities across the US, troubled local economies have led to dark times—literally. From Oregon to Illinois to California, struggling towns have found themselves forced to turn off, and often completely remove, local streetlights. And with winter shortening daylight hours, citizens are none too pleased by the change. "I don’t go out to get gas at night. I don’t run to any stores. I try to do everything in the daytime and to be back before night falls," says a woman in Highland Park, Mich.

Just 500 of 1,600 streetlights remain shining in the town, which sits next to Detroit. The result: "It’s just too dark," says a minister. And while other budget cuts may fly under the radar for many, a lack of light is something everyone notices, the New York Times notes. Officials say it can't be helped. "It’s like your own budget at home—we can’t afford this anymore," says an Illinois town's public works chief. Locals are turning to their own outdoor lamps, from porch lights to Christmas lights. "What happened to our streetlights is what happens when politicians lose hope," adds the minister. "All kinds of crazy decisions get made, and citizens lose faith in the process.” (Read more lighting stories.)

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