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Alexandria Left Hanging On Joint Transit Study

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Leaders in Arlington County and the City of Alexandria are moving in different directions along a high-capacity transit corridor on U.S. Route 1, and it's causing some tension among lawmakers in Alexandria. 

Two years ago, Arlington asked Alexandria to join an environmental analysis for the Crystal City-Potomac Yard transit corridor. Together, the neighboring jurisdictions would save money by combining efforts; the study was expected to cost a total of $2.4 million. Now, Arlington County is backing out of the deal, leaving Alexandria holding the bag. 

"I think in fairness, Arlington should have had the courtesy of saying, 'Let's have a sit-down talk about where we are, what our dilemmas are, what our challengers are,'" says Alexandria Mayor Bill Euille. "That hasn't happened.” 

Euille is now calling for a joint meeting between members of the Arlington County Board and Alexandria City Council to discuss the future of the transit corridor. At issue is $40-120 million worth of federal funds, which city officials say would be jeopardized without the study. 

"If we are going to continue on this alternative, I think Arlington definitely needs to be on board because they've kind of gotten us to this point, and they can’t just walk away," says Alexandria Council member Frank Fannon. 

Alexandria Council member Alicia Hughes agrees. 

"I think that it is a show of bad faith on the part of the Arlington County Board to have come to the city of Alexandria and ask us enter something with them, and now that we've done it and it's time to take the next step, lo and behold it's like if you looked under a rock you could not find them," Hughes says. 

Arlington County Board Chair Mary Hynes did not return phone calls, although she issued a written statement along with Mayor Euille saying the two jurisdictions have different strategies. A spokeswoman for the Arlington County government declined to answer questions.

Correction: The original version of the story incorrectly reported that Arlington would have been responsible for $2.4 million, which is the total cost of the study. County and city officials disagree about how much money each jurisdiction would have contributed.

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