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K Street Woes: Speculation On Lost Federal Money To Fix Roads

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The Federal Transit Administration declined to give D.C. money to create dedicated bus lanes on K Street downtown, but it didn't say why. That's prompted some speculation.
David Schultz
The Federal Transit Administration declined to give D.C. money to create dedicated bus lanes on K Street downtown, but it didn't say why. That's prompted some speculation.

By David Schultz

For most Washingtonians, K Street is just another street. But since it's also home to the so-called nefarious U.S. lobbying industry, many outsiders see K Street as a scapegoat for everything wrong with American politics. So when the Federal Transit Administration announced D.C. lost the $76 million grant, it got some locals thinking.

"There was a rumor-which we were unable to confirm one way or another," says David Alpert, editor of the transportation blog Greater Greater Washington, "But there was some sensitivity about the fact that K Street has a connotation nationwide of being 'The Street of Lobbyists.'"

Alpert says the FTA may have been wary of being seen as "giving money to K Street," with its stigma of corruption and influence-peddling.

"That's an interesting piece of speculation," says Ron Kirby, with the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments. "I have...nothing that I can refer to that would confirm that that was the way the decision was made."

We contacted the FTA to see if it would provide some insight, but a spokesman refused to talk on tape. Alpert says, regardless of what reasoning the FTA used, K Street is in desperate need of a rebranding.

"I suggested in a somewhat tongue-in-cheek way that maybe D.C. should try to rename this road something else," he says. "I think I suggested Abraham Lincoln Boulevard."

Or better yet, he says, people could stop sliming K Street and acknowledge it's a real road with actual people who use it.

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