WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

Columbia Pike Streetcar Project Moving Forward Without Federal Funds

Play associated audio
Columbia Pike is already served by the 16 bus line, and critics of the streetcar argue expanding bus service is a cheaper alternative.
Columbia Pike is already served by the 16 bus line, and critics of the streetcar argue expanding bus service is a cheaper alternative.

Arlington County leaders say it's time to press forward with a proposed streetcar line, even though federal officials recently declined to fund the project.

The Federal Transit Administration says it will not bankroll the $250 million project in its 2014 Small Starts funding, rejecting an application for the money from Arlington. County leaders say they will press ahead with the streetcar project anyway, despite calls for an independent economic analysis of bus-rapid transit as a alternative  to the streetcar line.

"We've done the analysis. We've done all the studies that need to be done," says County Board Chairman Walter Tejada. "And if there is anything else we will take a look at it down the line."

Peter Rousselot, former chairman of the Arlington Democratic Committee, say that claim is false. He is now with a group known as Arlingtonians for Sensible Transit. He says none of the studies so far include a cost-benefit analysis for a bus-rapid transit system.

"They computed the cost of the two alternative things, but they never explained why it was worth spending $200 million more on one versus the other," Rousselot says.

Arlington County Board member Chris Zimmerman disagrees with calls for an independent cost-benefit analysis of bus-rapid transit.

"If you are against the project and you don't want to do it, then you can argue endlessly that there's some study that should be done by somebody else that will produce the results you want," Zimmerman says.

Newly-elected member Libby Garvey is the lone dissenting vote on the all-Democratic Arlington County Board.

"There are some statements made that, on just sort of general survey data, how people feel about buses and there are little pie charts there," Garvey says. "There's not real data there at all."

Critics say they want more financial analysis, and fewer pie charts about feelings.

WAMU 88.5

The Music And Legacy Of Motown

Motown founder Berry Gordy and director Charles Randolph-Wright of “Motown the Musical" join Diane for a conversation about the history of Detroit's famous sound.

WAMU 88.5

Will Montgomery County Go "Bottoms Up" On Liquor Laws?

Since Prohibition, Montgomery County has held the purse strings on liquor sales, meaning the county sells every drink from beer to bourbon to local bars and restaurants. But local business owners are pushing back from this system, claiming it lacks efficiency and leaves customers waiting. County officials say they are holding out for alternatives that protect those within the industry. We discuss both sides of the issue today.

WAMU 88.5

Exelon's Chief Strategy Officer On Its Proposed Takeover Of Pepco

Kojo chats with Exelon's chief strategy officer about the company's vision for electric service in the Washington region, and its argument for why its acquisition of Pepco is in the best interest of customers.

WAMU 88.5

Computer Guys And Gal

Another year is coming to a close and the Computer Guys And Gal are here to discuss this year's biggest technology news, including the growth of virtual reality and the "Internet of Things."

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.