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City reducing carbon footprint

Night driving is changing in Santa Maria and it just might help the environment. More than 5,600 streetlights are being replaced in the city.

Over the next several weeks the yellow lights in the city will be replaced with LEDs, something the city has been looking forward to for years.

“This is exciting. You know the first lights went in in 1904. We became a city in 1905 so that’s over 100 years ago, so here we are with these new bright, clean, white lights,” said Santa Maria Mayor Alice Patino.

Paid by the city, PG&E has already replaced several of the yellow lights, like the ones on Blosser Road.

“Our policemen are telling us they can see the colors. You can see in the pictures behind me, you can see the color of the grass and with these lights our policemen are able to see the colors of cars at night,” said Patino.

This project will cost about $2 million. The money comes from the local gas tax and a low interest loan.

“The benefits to the city are that they save over $240,000 plus these lights last significantly longer so it reduces their maintenance cost,” said PG&E spokesman Pat Mullen.

One of the big selling points is reducing the city’s carbon footprint.

“These new led lights reduce the amount of greenhouse gases put out into the atmosphere. Because they are so energy-efficient it will actually reduce over 900,000 pounds of greenhouse gases released in the atmosphere,” said Mullen.

Santa Maria will get a rebate from PG&E worth $450,000 and the city expects the project will pay for itself through savings within nine years. Work on this project will be done during the day so you can expect minor driving delays over the next several weeks.

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