Greater Greater Washington reports that overnight Chairman Vincent Gray released a budget document that stripped out almost all of the $52 million for streetcars that the Committee on Public Works and Transportation approved recently. This funding would allow the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) to complete the initial segment of the H Street-Benning Road streetcar line, connecting it to Union Station and building a turnaround on Benning Road NE so that streetcar service could begin by spring 2012. Cutting this funding not only means that streetcars will not be running on H Street and Benning Road until well beyond 2012, but it also puts at risk federal funding DDOT has applied for to complete the line by crossing the Anacostia River and connecting the line to its planned terminus at the Benning Road Metrorail station. Ironically, this streetcar line would provide an important transit linkage across the Anacostia River and as such would seem like a perfect example of a project that would illustrate Gray’s “One City” vision for the District.
Please call (202-724-8032) or email Chairman Gray immediately and ask him to restore this vital streetcar funding.