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Smart lighting project advances, despite financing questions

An ambitious plan to convert 85 percent of Chicago’s outdoor lights to LED technology got the green light Thursday amid concern about how it would be financed. Mayor Rahm Emanuel once hoped to use his slow-starting Infrastructure Trust to attract private investors to bankroll the costly conversion of 270,000 outdoor lights along the lakefront and in streets, alleys, viaducts and pathways. Since the LED lights will replace an outdated infrastructure that has higher built-in energy costs, the overhaul was supposed to save enough money to cover conversion costs and still give those investors an attractive enough return on their money.

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