Street-lighting is a classic example of a public good, and governments are extensively involved in its provision. Adequate lighting facilitates both car traffic and personal safety while improving an urban area’s character. However, many systems are mismanaged and obsolete, incurring high energy costs and emissions with relatively low lighting quality. Public authorities facing budget constraints often find retrofitting old street-lighting systems challenging. They have two options: either direct in-house, public-authority renovation; or contracting with a private company through contracting out or a public-private partnership (PPP). This paper examines the PPP option for upgrading and replacing street lights. It makes a positive case for PPP on a number of grounds.
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