Driving in the Dark, to Save State Money

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Imagine driving along Interstate 95 around 1 a.m., and suddenly the lights go out. It could be a reality if a new bill passes.
A new bill in front of the Energy and Technology Committee proposes to shut off the streetlights along Interstates 95, 91 and 84 at 1 a.m. every day. Lawmakers say the measure could save a lot of cash in the state's $50 million energy bill.
"Most of the highway, like 84, isn't even lit, so unless there's a history of a lot of accidents on that road because of the lighting, I don't know that turning off the lights for a couple hours would make that big a difference," said Nancy Glatt, of Danbury, who supports turning off the lights.
But critics of the plan fear that shutting off the lights at such a dark time of night will lead to crashes and safety concerns.
"You can't compromise on safety to save money. It's not a good idea," said Josh Hopkins, of Manchester.
According to the bill, the Commissioner of the Department of Transportation would get the final say about which lights would be turned off or stay on. Lawmakers say they're weighing all the options.
"We have to look into, and talk with the Commissioner of the DOT to see if this is the only thing we could be doing with lights. Maybe we don't need to turn them off at 1 o'clock. Maybe we could turn off every third light, and still have the roads lit, and save just as much money," Rep. Peter Tercyak, D-New Britain, said.
The bill is still in its early stages. It must get through several committees before the House and Senate vote.
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