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Mayor Bowser Celebrates DC Smart Street Lighting Project Milestone: 50% of the District’s Streetlights Modernized

Monday, November 6, 2023
District Marks Milestone in the Nation’s Largest Urban Streetlight Public-Private Partnership Project

(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser and District officials celebrated progress on the DC Smart Street Lighting Project, which is providing neighborhoods across all eight wards with better, more efficient, and more modernized streetlights. The DC Smart Lighting Project is part of the District’s Smart Cities initiative to upgrade the entire District streetlight network of more than 75,000 lights to LED, which offer energy efficiency, better light directing and safety, remote monitoring, and brightness control. So far, the District has modernized nearly 40,000 streetlights. 
“When we introduced and passed the Public-Private Partnership Act of 2014, I knew that it would allow us to deliver on major infrastructure projects like this one – in an efficient and cost effective way,” said Mayor Bowser. “Today, we are celebrating that we have successfully modernized nearly 40,000 streetlights across DC with better, more sustainable lights. We’re grateful for the teams working together to make this happen, and we’re grateful for the teams out in streets getting the lights replaced and modernized.” 
This is the District’s first public-private partnership (P3) and the largest P3 streetlight project in the nation. Mayor Bowser introduced the Public-Private Partnership Act of 2014, an innovative piece of legislation that encourages private investment in major public works projects and establishes a clear framework for securing P3s, when she was a councilmember. The project is expected to be completed in May 2024.
“Thanks to our new LED streetlights platform, DDOT is notified when a light is out or malfunctioning, allowing the agency to deploy a service team to make the necessary adjustments,” said Interim Director Sharon Kershbaum. “With today’s announcement, we are helping make our city services more efficient and reliable—strengthening our communities across the District.” 
The DC Smart Lighting Project will offer the following improvements:   

  • Better directing light onto the road, sidewalks, and trails, reducing light pollution and advancing the District’s Vision Zero goals through improved safety for pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists; 
  • Reducing streetlight energy consumption by more than 50%, contributing to the District’s sustainability efforts; and 
  • Allowing streetlights to be remotely monitored and controlled, facilitating quick notification and resolution of outages and the ability to customize brightness based on time of day, location, and street use.  

After the District awarded this first P3 project in February 2022, the Council of the District of Columbia approved a $309 million contract with Plenary Infrastructure DC (PIDC). PIDC is financing the project costs, allowing the District to complete the upgrades within two years as well as maximizing long-term energy savings and environmental benefit. The project is supported with $160 million financed through the DC Revenue Bond program, which was made possible because the District received an allocation of Private Activity Bonds from U.S. Department of Transportation.  
During infrastructure week in May 2022, the Mayor held a ceremonial bond signing for the lighting project and celebrated District funding from the President Biden's Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL). During today’s event, the Mayor also gave an update on funding District agencies have been working diligently to get through BIL, to include submitting nearly 50 applications and requesting more than $1.5 billion in funding. Out of these applications, and a competitive grant process, the District has already secured 10 grants, with 12 more under consideration. Overall, the city has been awarded $132 million for projects, including the South Capitol Street Trail, clean energy buses, brownfields site clean-ups, and more.  
To learn more about the DC Smart Street Lighting Project, visit or email [email protected]

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