CIP Work Session - County Board, County Manager, County Staff Clueless About Streetcars

Hello, Yupette,

I attended the County Board - County Manager - County Staff 10-year CIP work meeting yesterday afternoon. Most of this CIP meeting was about transportation. As you might expect, the Pike transit discussion was entirely about streetcars. Total cost of Arlington portion of a streetcar system is projected to be $198 million. The County Board would seek a $65 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration through its Small Starts program.

I was appalled to hear County Manager Barbara Donnellan declare that she and her staff don't know anything about streetcars and will have to hire consultants, travel to cities that have streetcar systems, hire streetcar program managers, educate the County Board and County Staff about streetcars, and so on. Not only the County Manager but Transportation Division Chief Dennis Leach stated they are clueless about streetcars.

Oh, even though County transportation staff don't know anything about streetcars that doesn't prevent them from persuading citizens that streetcars are the 'best option' for the Pike and Crystal City. One of the members of the County Board's hand-picked Fiscal Affairs Advisory Commission described how transportation staff intensely lobbied FAAC commissioners about the 'merits' of streetcars.

'Alternatives analysis'. What alternatives analysis? Looks like the County will try to tell the FTA that after a fair and unbiased process Arlington residents chose streetcars as the 'best' transit option for the Pike and Crystal City.