Jim Graham and Chairman Gray filed a disapproval resolution to block DDOT’s transfer of $20 million to extend, or move, the planned streetcar segment. (It’s still not entirely clear if they’re extending it or moving it.)
As the Examiner reported this morning, Graham doesn’t actually disapprove of the new alignment or this reprogramming. And he’s said he’s a strong advocate of building streetcars in DC. But at the July 14 hearing he asked DDOT to provide more information about costs, ridership projections, and other information justifying their decision. They haven’t, and so Graham is taking advantage of this procedural step to force DDOT to the table. That table will be in the Wilson Building on November 7th, when Graham plans to pick up where the July hearing left off.
The most important thing is that we build some streetcars. DDOT promised more information, and they should provide it. But then we should go ahead and build the damn streetcars. The worst outcome would be for the Council to decide that since we have a budget shortfall, we shouldn’t add this $20 million to the streetcars, or worse yet, not build any streetcars at all. That’ll set everything back years if not decades. We budgeted some money for them. We even already bought vehicles, which are still in the Czech Republic. Let’s put some tracks in the ground and move on to the next set of tracks.