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Arlington Board Candidates Debate Merits Of Columbia Pike Streetcar

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Streetcars would supplement bus service on Columbia Pike under an Arlington County plan to install a 5-mile streetcar line along the corridor.
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Streetcars would supplement bus service on Columbia Pike under an Arlington County plan to install a 5-mile streetcar line along the corridor.

Candidates for the Arlington County Board are wrestling with the Columbia Pike streetcar proposal. No other issue in the race for Arlington County Board has dominated the discussion like the $250 million plan to create a 5-mile transit line, and it seems that candidates on all sides aren't that far apart. 

Republican Matt Wavro is against it.

"The current plans for the trolley will increase congestion and will not increase transit service for Columbia Pike," Wavro says. "Instead I would advocate for enhanced bus service." He favors buses with an increased capacity servicing "superstops," and an express bus service that would go all the way into Rosslyn. 

Green Party candidate Audrey Clement is also opposed. "If you have to expense that amount of money rationally, you really have to demonstrate massive need. And that need is not there," she says.  

Even incumbent Democrat Libby Garvey isn't so sure.

"All the information I am gaining so far, and I continue to get it, I have seen nothing yet that would incline me to think that we should do the streetcar," she says. "In my mind right now, the choice of what vehicle to use is something that needs to be looked at and still hasn't been chosen." 

Garvey says she might support a plan that would launch bus rapid transit on Columbia Pike with an option to upgrade to streetcars in the future. Arlington County leaders are hoping to move forward with the streetcar proposal in the near future, although this election cycle is raising questions about support it may have at the ballot box.

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