Alexandria approves express buses
The Alexandria City Council approved $600,000 to rehabilitate four city DASH buses that will be used for express bus service between the King Street Metro station and Mark Center.
The express service is the first transit improvement put in place to handle the 6,400 new federal employees who are coming to the new federal building as part of the Base Relocation and Closure (BRAC) process beginning this summer.
The council approved the measure contingent on a reimbursement agreement with the Department of Defense that would cover the rehabilitation costs and the more than $500,000 yearly operating costs. Vice Mayor Kerry Donley said he expects an agreement by Jan. 19.
The morning and evening rush hour express bus service will be free to defense department employees, but will require a fare from other riders.
The rehabilitation, which takes about five months, extends the life of a bus by some five years, said Sandy Modell, general manager of Alexandria's DASH bus system. She said one new bus costs about $650,000.
The city will have the buses running the routes before the first major move of employees to the site in August to work out any kinks in the service, said Rich Baier, the city's transportation chief.
The city also is submitting some $20 million in unfunded short- and mid-term road improvements to the Mark Center site to the state through the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority in search of funding. The city resolved to try all avenues to find funding for the road improvements.