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Posted at 12:38 PM ET, 11/19/2010

A case for Columbia Pike streetcars

By Christy Goodman

Transportation officials from Arlington and Fairfax counties gathered community comments regarding the five-mile Columbia Pike Streetcar plan as they prepare the documentation to apply for federal funding.

The second of two forums this week addressed track alignments, station locations, facilities and how the $160 million project could affect its neighbors. That information will be used to complete the Environmental Assessment required to qualify for federal funds.

The project cost is expected to rise once the assessment is completed by next summer.

Planners hope to compete for about $50 million in federal funds, while financing the rest through a combination of local and state dollars. Arlington and Fairfax have dedicated transportation financing through commercial transportation taxes, which is one of several reasons this streetcar application is "very competitive," said Steve Del Giudice, Arlington's transit chief.

Several residents complained that the project was too expensive and heard it cost $336 million. That figure is the cost for construction and operation of the system for the next 30 years, Del Giudice said.

The county boards will vote next summer on the final project design, including whether or not the maintenance facility will be at the North Tract extension to the east of Pentagon City or the Northern Virginia Community College's Alexandria Campus.

Area officials discuss streetcar needs

A good time for building transit

By Christy Goodman  | November 19, 2010; 12:38 PM ET
Categories:  Commuter Rail, Construction, Northern Virginia, Streetcar, Transit, Virginia  
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Streetcars are a very stupid idea. One breaks down during rush hour? Good luck for the ones stacked behind it and the people ahead of it who are waiting for it.

Take that money and use it for better BUS Service!!!

Posted by: bronxace | November 19, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

ahh yes but nobody likes riding buses- not sexy enough. gotta have something on rails so people that have cars would actually consider not driving in favor of another way.

Posted by: rademaar | November 19, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

I live right off of Columbia Pike and am driving on it constantly. I believe the trolley is a terrible idea! The traffic is bad enough! Do you really think people who don't ride buses will ride a trolley? So, now, we'll have to contend with cars, buses, the blinding sun in the evenings, and now a trolley!

Posted by: ng1231 | November 19, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

How about monorail? Rides above the street, not on it. Stations would be more expensive, but certain models of light monorail (not the heavy kind like Disney or Las Vegas) are not much more expensive than the streetcar for track construction.

Posted by: jcflack1 | November 22, 2010 8:18 AM | Report abuse

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