Faced with an unprecedented budget shortfall, Richmond Mayor Dwight C. Jones said this morning that the city will eliminate yellow on the area’s 2,320 stoplights by the end of the day.
“While this decision was a difficult one, we expect some major energy savings to come from skipping the yellow light and going straight from green to red,” the mayor said. “Just pay a bit more attention to your brakes, because you’ll need them pretty quickly. We’re all having to make some sacrifices in these hard economic times.”
According to a recent report by city’s finance department, the nearly $5 million budget gap is largely being blamed on the city finance department’s spending of nearly $5 million in third-party studies and reports, which, Jones said, “are very important in explaining to us the things we already know.” That shortfall will be cut by roughly $2 million with the elimination of the light that gives drivers a warning that signals will soon change to red, according to the finance department’s January 2009 report, which was later validated in a February 2009 third-party study.
Already, several yellows have been removed on stoplights up and down Broad Street, resulting in 52 fatalities and more than 200 serious injuries. The city has offered to pay for the damages, estimated at roughly $2 million.