‘DC Streetcar Front’
courtesy of ‘Mr. T in DC’
Last minute changes to the 2011 District budget include the elimination of the District’s up-and-coming streetcar program. The changes, submitted to the Council by Chair Vincent Gray (D) at 2 AM last night, remove funding for the H Street-Benning Road streetcar line. Greater Greater Washington broke the news this morning, noting that Sarah Campbell, Gray’s director of capital projects had long been pushing to kill the streetcar program.
The streetcar program has faced many obstacles, including a concern over the use of overhead wires. A local advocacy group, the Committee of 100, has been an outspoken opponent of overhead wires, calling for more expensive wireless technology. Ms. Campbell has personal ties to Meg Maguire, the leader of the Committee of 100’s campaign against the streetcars. It’s unclear if that relationship had any influence on this decision.
The streetcar project aimed to help accelerate the revival of the H Street corridor. Construction has been underway on the line, and proximity to the streetcar is already being touted in real estate listings. This news has already blown up across the Internet, with many transit advocates and H Street residents showing outrage and stating they will now vote for Mayor Adrian Fenty (D) in the upcoming Democratic primary–where Vincent Gray is also a candidate.