Greater Greater Washington

Budget


Streetcar passes markup, but under consideration for cuts

A DC Council committee unanimously approved the streetcar approval resolution at a markup session this morning, but sources say Gray's budget staff and transition team are considering the program for cuts.


Photo by thecourtyard on Flickr.

Nothing has been decided, but the Gray's Council budget office believes that they still need to make additional capital cuts for FY11 beyond those proposed in Mayor Fenty's budget, and the streetcar is one program being considered.

Earlier this year, the Council approved the streetcar program, but required DDOT to conduct some more extensive planning to move forward. Passing the resolution marked up this morning, the Streetcar Project Comprehensive Plan Approval Resolution of 2010, will release the last $34.5 million to build the H Street-Benning Road line.

That might make an inviting target for cutters, but Gray's team is also concerned about the certain backlash from residents who have come to feel the DC government made a fairly firm commitment to build the line. H Street business owners, in particular, testified powerfully about the impact the streetscape construction has had on business (most of which was not related to the streetcar).

The current budget has also cut the streetscape survival fund meant to help business through these projects. At least they can look forward to the light at the end of the tunnel (not literally) from business growth the streetcar is very likely to bring.

Unfortunately, this budget process hasn't been any more transparent than the last one. Despite hours of hearings, these capital budget cuts are again happening behind closed doors and at the last minute. Sarah Campbell and the rest of the Council budget office have a list of cuts they are pondering; it would be really helpful to know what they are so residents can more meaningfully weigh in.

We can't tell what level of cuts is really necessary, or what else is on the table, and whether those other projects are more or less important to the District's growth.

One thing is for sure: Whatever decisions get made, it won't be a staff error as Gray alleged the May cuts were during the campaign. Gray has near complete power over the Council right now, as Chairman and Mayor-Elect, and almost everyone from the executive and legislative branches is giving him wide discretion right now. It really is up to him.

You can always weigh in by calling Gray's office at (202) 724-8032.

David Alpert is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Greater Greater Washington and Greater Greater Education. He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He loves the area which is, in many ways, greater than those others, and wants to see it become even greater. 

Comments

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It's refreshing to see that unlike that meanie Fenty, the Gray administration is working with total transparency and is completely open to the public about its decision making process on budget issues that are vital to District residents.

by Fritz on Dec 3, 2010 2:29 pm • linkreport

...and here we go again!

(CAPTCHA: "weezed council")

by ChrisW on Dec 3, 2010 2:36 pm • linkreport

Boy....good thing you supported Gray, David! I wonder, will you give us some objective criterion as to when you will admit you were wrong?

by John on Dec 3, 2010 2:36 pm • linkreport

Now now, give Gray a chance before you bite David's head off. This is actually a good litmus test of the new mayor, as it's a chance for a do-over. The question is, of course, will he make the cut?

by OctaviusIII on Dec 3, 2010 4:25 pm • linkreport

I am Jack's complete lack of surprise.

by mark on Dec 3, 2010 4:45 pm • linkreport

So... should I check back at 2 in the morning to see whether or not he cut them again?

by Teyo on Dec 3, 2010 4:53 pm • linkreport

I'm streetcar supporter, and not a Gray supporter, but cutting the streetcars doesn't seem unreasonable to me. It's much easier to cut projects that people aren't using yet, it's a big chunk of money, and a large number of the people who are enthusiastic about it aren't Gray voters anyway.

If I were him I'd probably delay it a year or two.

by jcm on Dec 3, 2010 4:56 pm • linkreport

You mean Gray's quick change on street car funding might not have been genuine? Shock!!

Of course it's going to be cut.

by blogo on Dec 3, 2010 5:04 pm • linkreport

Also, the man just had a 15 hour public hearing on budget cuts. How much more public input can there be? At some point they need to sit down and write the thing, and we have to hope we elected a competent mayor and council chair.

By the way, Gray had complete control last time, too. That staff error excuse doesn't excuse Gray - it was Gray's staff that made the cut. And that very same staff is doing it this time. It's not like Fenty somehow pushed Gray into it.

by jcm on Dec 3, 2010 5:05 pm • linkreport

The silence from David is deafening.

by John on Dec 3, 2010 5:22 pm • linkreport

jcm: A public hearing so the activist circus can perform to the sounds of a calliope, get their self esteem from listening to themselves talk, and then Council holds the real meetings in private is faux transparency.

by John on Dec 3, 2010 5:33 pm • linkreport

Maybe the feds will give DC some of those ARC tunnel dollars for this? Amirite?

by aaa on Dec 3, 2010 6:03 pm • linkreport

This was all show by those on the Council who've been championing the project for H Street. Given the budget gap announced recently there's not one CM who doesn't know there isn't a cent for streetcars until the finances of the
District get put back in order following the Fenty spending spree. This vote was to pass the buck. They'll be able to say "we tried". As for federal funding .. good luck ...none of the required environmental studies have been performed, there's no feasible solution for getting the line over to the Union Station side of the tracks, and the planning docs don't come close to what the feds would require. This project is dead and its demise will make it all that more difficult to get a system in later as opponents will point to this "waste if money".

by Lance on Dec 3, 2010 7:29 pm • linkreport

Will the streetcar have enough happy riders to outweigh the inevitable complaints from motorists?

Not if it runs at 45-minute headways with just the 3 vehicles on hand.

So here's a vote for Gray to do something bold. Do it right, or put it totally on ice.

by Turnip on Dec 3, 2010 9:00 pm • linkreport

Sounds like Gray may be flip-flopping back on this one. This is why some of us voted for the predictable autocrat over the wishy-washy guy.

by Rich on Dec 3, 2010 10:50 pm • linkreport

@Rich, Have you read about the gigantic budget gap we have? It's something like $380 million dollars just for the next year and a half (or something like that), and it's a gap in what we need for existing services and other obligations such as servicing the debt? Lots of things are going to get cut and taxes are most certainly going to go up. Where would you propose getting that extra $50 million to complete the H Street line ... never mind the rest of the $1.5 B to make it into a ciyt wide system? Let's be realistic. This thing is on hold ... It has to be. Fenty came into office with this city having one of the largest bank accounts anywhere of any city in the nation, and now we're in a position where we can't even pay the day to day bills. And you wanted to see this joker re-elected? You gotta be kidding.

by Lance on Dec 3, 2010 10:57 pm • linkreport

Did anyone see that pig flying over the mall? I agree with Lance.

by Andrew on Dec 3, 2010 11:57 pm • linkreport

@David We can't tell what level of cuts is really necessary, or what else is on the table, and whether those other projects are more or less important to the District's growth.

In a city where over 2/3rds of our budget goes for education and social services, and another large percentage goes for servicing our debt, how much do we really think is out there for 'projects' ... any projects ... especially given the known-to-date budget gap? (And I suspect we'll realize it's much worse than we now think once the reins are really turned over.) Now you can argue that investing in welfare won't bring you a return like helping developers redevelop yet another part of town, but the problem is you can't start affixing the labels 'more important' or 'less important' to that argument when the trade off is education or social service ... and that's why you're going to lose it ... especially from a mayor who campaigned on the theme "One City".

by Lance on Dec 4, 2010 1:07 am • linkreport

*Now you can argue that investing in education and social services won't bring you a return like helping developers redevelop yet another part of town

by Lance on Dec 4, 2010 1:09 am • linkreport

Lance, tell em how much it cost just to hold those streetcars in overseas and for how long. This was also a Fenty flop.

by Charmaine on Dec 4, 2010 1:59 am • linkreport

Just to add that I am LMAO at those who are having a BF over streetcars when the reality is that the economy is slowly recovering, there is an extremely high unemployment rate and only 30,000 jobs were created, and that while Fenty was playing "Big Wig" with half of the city, the other half is damn near in a shambles. I am pretty sure that the folks complaining about "streetcars" are residing in areas that are already well developed, highly maintained, and is abundant in economic growth, and may very well be "well off" financially, so they should be so lucky to have had the foundation laid for "streetcars" and be thankful and count themselves as blessed for the areas in which they frequent or reside in. Because there are areas in this city that is severely lacking basic need and services. Oh yeah, one more thing, where is the "outrage" about soon to be former mayor Fenty's stance on cutting the "Great Streets Initiative" program? A program/initiative that was based on helping other, less developed, underserved areas catch up with the rest of the city in economic and development opportunities, and "smart growth". Oh yeah, that's right there is no outrage on that matter, because to those who already reside in well-developed areas, and "up and coming" areas of the city the concept is; "Out of sight, Out of mind". Back to the original subject, while the former was syphoning funds from other programs in order to make parts of the city "livable" , more important things such as; the budget to cover the expenses and funds that were originally designated to other programs were lacking severely. This budget thing is under the Fenty Administration. You cannot put the blame on a person who has not assumed the role and responsibility of the position appointed via election to him, even before getting established into the office, and one person cannot be at fault from someone else's actions. When Gray assumes office and he happens to fowl up then it will be on him, but this BS is on Fenty because this debt did not just occur within a matter of months, out of thin air. Apparently, this has been going on for years, and it has not been properly addressed while he (Fenty) was in office. So, rage about that!

by Charmaine on Dec 4, 2010 2:26 am • linkreport

@Charmaine - So apparently in your view the Wards with the highest poverty and unemployed should get most of the budget. Not only are vasts amount of social services non-negotiable you want these same Wards to be the priority focus of economic development (nevermind that developers are barely interested). Well sorry no matter how much you may personally feel it's justified the affluent Wards that contribute the most taxes aren't to be neglected. These are the Wards that developers are interested in expanding development in. New developments attract new residents and increase future tax revenue base.

by Jason on Dec 4, 2010 3:26 am • linkreport

@ Jason,
First, if it is true that the more "affluent" wards contribute more taxes than the "less affluent" wards, then there really shouldn't be much lack in the revenue accrued by taxes which affects the budget. So while those who put the blame on Gray for the budget crisis that has been accrued during the Fenty Administration, those very same people are praising Fenty as if he was some sort of "Saviour" whose alleged agenda for this city had been inclusive and frugal, when the fact is that this budget crisis has accumulated while his administration was active and I am pretty sure that he had someone in his administration to oversee, budget issues. As an end result, there would have to be tough decisions such as cuts to services and maybe even some delay in certain projects in this city. But the "affluent" expects for those "cuts" and tough decisions to solely ride on the backs of average, everyday working citizens who live in "less affluent, underserved communities", and for it not to affect them so that they can continue to benefit, while others struggle. So no, I am not crying at all about a "streetcar" because in the end, the streetcar agenda will go on, even if delayed. I am more so annoyed by the attitudes of "mature" adults who are acting like "little spoiled children" about something that they are going to eventually get anyway, but at a slightly delayed timeframe. When there are areas that don't even have a grocery store. Also, if the Former Mayor's agenda was about promoting the city to become a renowned "Model City" that agenda should've been spread across the board not in little sections of the city. With that being said, in response to the latter part of your post, there are people in this city who make average salaries who also pay taxes also-where are the basic services for them? They've paid in taxes for it. Are you suggesting that they don't deserve it?

by Charmaine on Dec 4, 2010 5:59 am • linkreport

What we aren't hearing from Lance and the Committee of 100 in their budgetary told-you-so dance:

They wanted the streetcars to cost even more.

In the Committee's very first salvo to obstruct the current streetcar plans, they floated to community organizations and ANCs a petition pushing for the most expensive technology available to power the system, or they opposed the streetcar plans.

If we, as a city, are to be told that we cannot have things both ways, that we cannot have things the way we want them while affording it as well, the Committee of 100 should be the last to deliver that lecture.

by Joel Lawson on Dec 4, 2010 9:34 am • linkreport

Joel, The fact we were having to do it 'on the cheap' should have been a clue to you that we couldn't afford it at this point as planned.

Now I do have an idea if we really want to see the H Street NE line completed now ... (A line for which incidentally the Committee of 100 advocated waving the wireless requirement for until the cost of wireless comes down.) It sounds like if we had an extra $50 million come in (or is it $35 M?) we could finish it. I am going to propose (via here) that the developers lining the route who stand to make ten-fold that just by a streetcar line being put on that street donate this amount to the District with the provisio that it be used only for completely the H Street NE line. What do you think Joel? Others?

by Lance on Dec 4, 2010 10:42 am • linkreport

Lance: Please send me a link to the testimony of a member of the Committee of 100 advocating waiving the overhead wire requirement until the cost of wireless comes down.

by David Alpert on Dec 4, 2010 10:43 am • linkreport

@Charmaine - the streetcar been in the works since the late 90's. So forgive me if I don't feel the need to honor your desire to further delay the lines already underway. The projects doesn't need to be squashed everytime it shows a little momentum just simply because small minded people don't understand the value of transportation infrastructure.

Seeing as you brought up the subject of mature adults versus spoiled little children... well to me the spoiled little children are the ones who demand long term social assistance because they couldn't be bothered to graduate HS or get their GED, had children they can't afford, or don't hold jobs because past employers wouldn't put up with the fact they are constantly tardy/absent, surly, or lazy.

by Jason on Dec 4, 2010 12:10 pm • linkreport

David , Why are you assuming advocacy can only happen via hearings? Wells had wanted to undo to attempt to undo the federal ban .. which NCPC would have squashed in 2 seconds flat. The C100 advocated instead for the exemption ... even offering specific suggestions to the language of the bill so that it wouldn't risk running afoul of the federal ban and thereby cause NCPC to overturn it. What did you do to get this excepting made possible other than be a cheerleader for whatever Klein needed?

by Lance on Dec 4, 2010 12:16 pm • linkreport

Proof, Lance, David wants proof. Doesn't matter if it comes from hearings or not since during this whole process it seemed like the C100 tried to prevent the streetcar b/c of a lack of wireless technology. What you're saying seems to be the opposite of what the c100 was saying all along.

by Canaan on Dec 4, 2010 12:30 pm • linkreport

Cannan, David need only ask his friends on the Council to validate. Also, did you know the C100 produced a streetcar planning study much more comprehensive than DDOT's which it has given the Council? I wonder if David would publish it?

by Lance on Dec 4, 2010 12:41 pm • linkreport

I want to email Gray asking him not to cut the streetcar, but I don't just want to sound like another person begging for his/her pet project to be spared. I want to suggest something else that should be cut to make room in the budget.

Is there a list of everything they're considering cutting? If I can see a list, I might be able to recommend something else to cut.

by Malcolm K on Dec 4, 2010 1:19 pm • linkreport

@ Jason,
So what you are basically implying is that this area will not have any value if a streetcar is not present or that it will become some kind of a "mecca" if the streetcars are present. Have you actually observed the growth, development and progress of the "proposed" streetcar area? It doesn't seem to me as if that area is lacking in the "basic services" department either. To make that assumption is absurd in itself, due to the positive growth that's in this area. But then again, I live near 2 Metro Stations and can walk to the nearest bus stop within a matter of minutes. So I do understand your concerns about a streetcar "coming near you", but refuse to stroke the egos of those who complain about a delay in a project that is destined to happen in your lifetime. If it bothers you that much then take the initiative and do something about it and contribute to making it happen, if you can. Also, refer to the "Job training" post if you care to discuss the "other spoiled children" that you've mentioned in the latter part of your most recent post. I'm advocating on behalf of those who actually work. And in that particular post I address the issues of job training and education of those "other spoiled children" that you've mentioned, so calm down. I must have struck a nerve with you or something.

by Charmaine on Dec 4, 2010 1:53 pm • linkreport

"David need only ask his friends on the Council to validate."

Or, we can just ask you, Lance, as a Trustee of the Committee of 100, to simply provide the information about the Committee's own lobbying effort, that David asked for, instead of being redirected by you to trudge the halls of the Wilson Building in search of unnamed persons who may, or may not, be able to cite info for which you should be a much more direct and authentic source, no?

I also fail to grasp the logic in your statement: "The fact we were having to do it 'on the cheap' should have been a clue to you that we couldn't afford it at this point as planned."

A hybrid system was less costly, but not "on the cheap," which implies of course a lesser-quality system. Nonetheless, as I suggested earlier, and at the time the Committee first floated its obstructionist petition, you cannot have it both ways: calling for an affordable system, while calling for the most expensive possible system. I believe your statement only furthers, rather than resolves, the inherent contradiction.

by Joel Lawson on Dec 4, 2010 1:59 pm • linkreport

Joel, yes 'on the cheap' as in lesser-quality system. The higher-quality systems are wireless and don't require ruining the city views to accomplish. They also run on dedicated rights of way (ROW) and are put into parts of town which are otherwise congested to aid in relieving that congestion. Think of the historic parts of Bordeaux. They aren't put into parts of town where there are already adequate transportation systems in place for the people now there as a way of subsidizing developers efforts to bring new people there to buy new places. So, what do you think of my idea of having the developers on H St pay to finish the streetcar line there?

by Lance on Dec 4, 2010 3:04 pm • linkreport

@Lance

So, your thought process is that we either get the very best (read: most expensive) system or we don't get anything?

Using your same logic, I have to ask: when you decide to buy a car, do you save up for the Rolls Royce or did you decide to get a car 'on the cheap' and settle for a Lexus?

by Teyo on Dec 4, 2010 3:15 pm • linkreport

@ Charmaine
Also, if the Former Mayor's agenda was about promoting the city to become a renowned "Model City" that agenda should've been spread across the board not in little sections of the city.

The claim that poorer areas receive less than their fair share of discretionary city funds is simply not true. And in this particular case, the first three phases of the streetcar are H St, Anacostia, and the H st extension down Benning Rd to Oklahoma Ave. This isn't some shiny toy for the rich.

by jcm on Dec 4, 2010 3:42 pm • linkreport

@Teyo, You buy what is most economical AND fits your needs. When you have plans for our city specifically saying we need to keep open sightlines and big vistas, wired doesn't work. It doesn't fit your needs. You don't buy a Vespa to haul furniture around just because it's cheaper. It's not valuable if it doesn't fit your needs.

by Lance on Dec 4, 2010 3:42 pm • linkreport

Lance: In your 3:42 post you inadvertently justified your argument through the mistaken use of the plural pronouns "you" and "your", instead of the more accurate singular "my" and "mine". Hope that helps!

by John on Dec 4, 2010 3:51 pm • linkreport

@Lance

The streetcar is for moving people from one area to another. That's its purpose and it does that just fine whether it has wires or not. However, not having wires makes it more expensive meaning that we might be able to afford fewer streetcars and, as a result have more infrequent service. So yes, you buy what fits your need and in this case we need a mode of public transportation that provides frequent access to areas currently without access.

Furthermore, the plans for open sight-lines and big vistas do not apply to Anacostia, for which the wired streetcars were originally bought. There has been an attempt (a deliberate one, in my opinion, since it comes from people like you who should know better) to confuse the public about the streetcars that we saw displayed a few months back and the streetcar lines that are being built. The fact that there will now be wires on H St as well does not change the fact that the original plan was for the wired cars to run on the Anacostia line.

by Teyo on Dec 4, 2010 3:59 pm • linkreport

Lance: Responding to your 3:04 comment, and question to me, I will say that:

1. You stated an ideological view that streetcars should be deployed only to assist existing residents, and not in part to encourage development; yet,
2. You suggest asking developers to pay for streetcars.

Best of luck with that.

May we turn to unfinished business: the C100 position info you entered into the discussion, and for which David asked a cite?

by Joel Lawson on Dec 4, 2010 4:31 pm • linkreport

@Teyo, the original plan was for a light rail system to run somewhere south of Anacostia on a CSX rail line ... which CSX wouldn't give permission to use. (I.e., they weren't 'street'cars, but instead supposed to run in an unused rail corridor over toward MD and Bolling AFB. And incidentally, the cars were bought before finding out if CSX would agree to the District using them.) And while you're correct that provided they are out of view of the L'Enfant City, there is no prohibition applicable to the wires, I'd like to ask you to consider what you've read above from Charmaine.

by Lance on Dec 4, 2010 4:33 pm • linkreport

Joel,

There's nothing inconsistent with 1 and 2. The ideological view is simply that when you're dealing with priorities, subsidizing developers (by OUR paying to put streetcars in places where they aren't yet needed) must come way after putting them in places where they are needed now. If we're putting them in there to help the developers draw new customers, doesn't it make sense that the developers should foot the bill for this and not the taxpayer? ... especially since by virtue of bringing this in, most existing taxpayers in these areas (i.e., the renters) won't be able to afford to live there anymore once its been developed. It seems like a no-brainer that the one set to profit from bringing in a streetcar line to an area should be the one paying for it. Don't you agree?

by Lance on Dec 4, 2010 4:51 pm • linkreport

@Lance

The part where she makes it seem as if it's some rich gentrification advocate's dream to have streetcars while the poor local residents suffer? Or the part where she says that growth would happen in those areas even if it weren't for the streetcars?

Either way, I don't think she's right and it also doesn't have anything to do with what we were originally talking about.

However, just for the sake of argument, consider the building of Skyline City at the western end of Columbia Pike in Bailey's Crossroads in anticipation of a Metrorail extension down the Pike. Do you really think that would have gotten built if it wasn't for the proposed extension? Similarly, I believe the revival of the H Street corridor is in part based on the planned streetcar.

Businesses and residents seem eager for the "on the cheap" option but have complained about the disruption caused by the simultaneous resurfacing of the road and installation of track. A dedicated right of way like you suggest would cause even further disruption and permanently reduce the capacity of those roads unnecessarily. Anyway, this has been covered multiple times on this blog so I'm tired of rehashing this debate with you.

As for the rich versus poor argument, we have to remember the location of these streetcars. If we were having a debate between building a streetcar in Georgetown versus building a new school in Anacostia, I'd agree. But we're talking about building a streetcar in an economically disadvantaged area in order to spur growth there, so I don't really see the argument. As for making the businesses along H St pay for the streetcar, we have to remember that most of these businesses are locally owned and, as such, any benefit they derive would translate into better conditions for the local area, including more jobs. These parts of DC have unemployment rates far higher than the DC average and I'm sure they could use all the help they can get. Studies have shown that better transit access to areas with high unemployment reduces the rate of unemployment.

by Teyo on Dec 4, 2010 5:02 pm • linkreport

I'm sorry, Lance, but I'm not sure how a question as to the Committee's position on affordability and systems has veered into a wider philosophical question over line placement (which you originally offered as a request for reaction to the notion of asking developers to pay for streetcar lines).

- I found the C100's original petition on streetcars to be self-contradicting and illogical (in addition to being poorly crafted in general) on the question of cost: it warned of costs, while advocating for the most expensive technology.

- I don't think the idea of developers paying is workable or realistic in the slightest. If you disagree, please proceed with the project and I'll be delighted to have been proven completely wrong.

- Now, where's the cite David asked of?

by Joel Lawson on Dec 4, 2010 5:03 pm • linkreport

@ Lance Fenty and Klein have already proposed having commercial property owners pay for some of the cost of the future streetcar buildout. The idea is to build the H St line first, to have a successful example to show businesses near future lines.

No idea if the new administration feels the same.

by jcm on Dec 4, 2010 5:05 pm • linkreport

I've had a vision of what the future streetcar system will look like:

A bus.

Cheaper. Faster. No years-long disruption to businesses.

by Fritz on Dec 5, 2010 8:01 am • linkreport

Cutting DC government during a recession is the opposite of sound economics. If money is being wasted, then it ought to be spent on different ends, but cuts are insanity. Less public spending will weaken the economy even more, leading to less tax revenues and calls for more cuts. Herbert Hoover should not be the model. (Even from just from a stimulus perspective, not all spending is equal - the point is not that all government spending is good, only that government spending in this context is necessary).

The top income tax bracket in DC is $40,000. Creating an actual progressive income tax system in the district is the only way to address the budget and unemployment. Cuts, while they no doubt will hurt those in the poorer wards more, will hurt everyone. Graham and Brown have proposed raising taxes at the high end of the income distribution - when the rest claim that spending cuts are necessary, they simply aren't telling the truth.

by David Kaib on Dec 5, 2010 10:21 am • linkreport

Sweet! Tax and spend is the way to bring back prosperity!

There's plenty of DC gov't spending that can be cut -- if agency programs and core missions are carefully reviewed and consolidated. Many agencies have duplicative and overlapping programs focusing on the same issues. Consolidate them, eliminate redundant staff, and make better use of the money.

DC taxpayers expect their tax dollars to be spent wisely; not simply the usual liberal view of dumping money out of a helicopter to spur economic growth.

We shall see whether Gray has the guts to really look at what each agency does, what it's mission is, and where there's duplication of efforts -- and then propose cutting and consolidating. Unions will throw a total fit. Vested special interests will do the same. Councilmembers with cozy relationships with program beneficiaries will also throw a fit. And, of course, agencies will use back channels to avoid any loss of staff or money.

by Fritz on Dec 5, 2010 2:33 pm • linkreport

Why can't the Council just pass a law making us a 'Right to Work State'. Unions appear to be the single greatest cause for the inefficiencies in the system. They don't add any value to what we as taxpayers pay to get, and their objectives can be said to bear counter to what is in the bests interests of the DC ... i.e., getting the best return for our buck. And given that 80% of DC workers don't live in DC, I don't understand how there could be any political ramifications to this. They don't like our new rules? Let them go work in Maryland. There are lots of folks living in DC who could use the work.

by Lance on Dec 5, 2010 7:18 pm • linkreport

I've had a vision of what the future streetcar system will look like:
A bus.

Cheaper. Faster. No years-long disruption to businesses.

Yeah. Look at the amazing good that buses have done for economic development and transit development in DC over the past 40 years!

Seriously, you want to move to a big city where buses rule the roost when it comes to transit? Move to Detroit.

. Unions appear to be the single greatest cause for the inefficiencies in the system. They don't add any value to what we as taxpayers pay to get

Yep. Those "right to work" states like Mississippi are just models of efficient delivery of government services!

by Tyro on Dec 5, 2010 11:06 pm • linkreport

@Tyro: You're right. A city like New York - with no streetcar system, but an extensive bus and subway system - has had barely any economic development in decades. If only they were wise to spend gazillions of dollars on a streetcar system, they would finally evolve economically.

And I believe you can look to Virginia for a "right to work" state with efficient delivery of gov't services.

by Fritz on Dec 6, 2010 7:04 am • linkreport

Mayor-elect Gray should find a qualified director for DDOT who can develop a plan before implementing a major program (streetcars)without the required federal funds. DDOT has lost out on federal funds twice this year.

by Cut Your Losses on Dec 6, 2010 9:11 am • linkreport

As part of the debate on how the various modes will improve transit service in the Benning Road-H Street corridor, there will be an opportunity to see if bus service can make a difference with the implementation of the new limited stop Route X9 Metrobus service on December 20th.

While this new service will only operate during the AM and PM peak periods initially, it will serve the residents of Ward 6 and 7 with 17 stops between Capitol Heights Metro Station and 13th & New York Avenue, NW at a 15 minute frequency. This new route will provide direct service to the new DC Employment Services headquarters building at the Minnesota Avenue Metro Station and thru service from East of the River to Downtown. In the H Street, NE corridor, it will only stop at North Capitol Street, 8th Street, NE and 14th Street, NE

This service is being implemented with the use of existing resources at Metro. The Route X2 will continue to operate as it does today. In the future, if new funding can be identified, it is proposed to expand the X9 to a 10 minute frequency, and all day service similar to the Route 79 on Georgia Avenue.

by Douglas Stallworth on Dec 6, 2010 10:29 am • linkreport

"A city like New York - with no streetcar system, but an extensive bus and subway system - has had barely any economic development in decades."

Comparing any city to NYC is pointless, although I suspect that you already knew that.

And I can only hope you're kidding about Virginia and its "efficient delivery of government services". Or maybe I'm confusing "efficiency" with a refusal to properly fund shit. Either way...

by IheartNYC on Dec 6, 2010 5:27 pm • linkreport

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Save my name and email address on this computer so I don't have to enter it next time, and so I don't have to answer the anti-spam map challenge question in the future.

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