Barry holding up streetcar that was his idea 15 years ago
Councilmember Marion Barry is holding up a contract for the H Street streetcar, Mary Cheh's office told the Post's Tim Craig. He doesn't think the line is worthwhile, but that's a change from when he was mayor, when he put out DC's first plan showing a line on H Street.
Barry has filed a "disapproval resolution" on a design-build contract with a consortium of MC Dean and the Facchina Group to finish the H Street line. Even if Barry doesn't get support from his colleagues, that could delay the contract by 45 days to finish a line whose end date has already slipped several times, thanks to procurement snafus getting more cars and other factors.
In an interview, Barry said he wants to slow up the project because he's not convinced the streetcar line is needed because the District has an "excellent Metro system" and reliable bus service along the H Street corridor.The bus service wasn't even so good 15 years ago, when the Barry administration proposed a line on H Street in its 1997 transportation plan. That plan also had streetcar lines on Georgia and Maine Avenues and around Buzzard Point.
"It's about priorities in spending and how much capital money we are spending on streetcars that benefit a small number of people," Barry said. "We are already subsidizing Metro and also subsidizing the Circulator... People already have good bus service."
But today, Barry says, "It doesn't seem like a well-thought-out plan." Unlike 15 years ago?
The last line of Craig's story might suggest another, deeper motivation behind the move: David Catania, who has clashed in recent months with Barry, is a vice president at MC Dean, one of the companies getting the contract.
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