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D.C. Council Poised To Pass Bill Allowing Overhead Streetcar Wires

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By David Schultz

The bill has drawn criticism from the National Capital Planning Commission, and from some residents of Capitol Hill. They're concerned the wires would obstruct D.C.'s famous vistas.

But Councilman Tommy Wells, a major streetcar backer, says alternatives to overhead wires are simply not feasible.

"We don't want overhead wires either, but, right now it is so expensive," says Wells. "And the technology is not proven where it snows, everybody knows, this last winter, it snows in D.C. For us to go forward, we temporarily want to use overhead wires, at least in the non-sensitive areas."

The dispute over the wires is beginning to threaten the streetcar project's funding base.

Last week, the District lost out on a $25 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration after the Capitol Planning Commission sent a letter of opposition to the FTA.

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