Councilmember wants Md. to pay for backup power for traffic lights

Kate Ryan,

ROCKVILLE, Md. – Montgomery County Councilmember Phil Andrews wants to see the state pay for backup power for traffic lights when the electricity goes off.

Andrews asked the county delegation to the Maryland General Assembly to make the request in Annapolis.

Andrews wants to avoid another “commute from hell,” referring to the storm that iced up roads and left traffic lights dark last winter.

Of the county’s 800 traffic lights, 550 are operated by the state as part of the state road system. Montgomery County is already working to provide backup power to the 250 lights it operates and “should be done in three years, maybe less,” Andrews said.

The cost runs anywhere from $12,000 to $25,000 per intersection, but Andrews said it is critical for public safety.

He made his pitch during a briefing with the county’s director of Intergovernmental Relations on Monday.

“It’s a good investment to improve transportation capacity,” Andrews said.

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