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A risky fix to repair a city's gutted streetlight grid

TULSA, Okla. (AP) - After years in the dark, crews in Tulsa are finally scrambling to rewire the city's decimated lighting grid after copper thieves stole 33 miles (53 kilometers) of the precious metal.

Tulsa is making the patchwork repairs and gambling that cheaper aluminum wiring will be less enticing to would-be thieves. City leaders hope to have most of the lights back on by year's end.

The city isn't alone in its struggle to keep the lights on. Copper thieves have pillaged lighting grids in cities large and small nationwide, causing municipal budgets to skyrocket.

The lighting dilemma also tells the larger story of the country's deteriorating infrastructure due to decades of neglect, deferred maintenance and unwillingness by officials to make tough funding decisions.

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