A letter from DC Council chairman Phil Mendelson and five colleagues could imperil the Metro funding deal
A letter, released yesterday from DC Council chairman Phil Mendelson and five other council members, argues DC shouldn't pay what Virginia expects. That could lead Virginia or Maryland to pull back on their own contributions, leaving Metro with not enough money for needed repairs and upgrades.
For the first vote on DC's budget on May 30, DC Council Chairman Phil Mendelson slashed streetcar funding and a program that provides incentives for more solar power in DC. The budget lacked money necessary to extend the streetcar to Benning Road, never mind downtown. Now, he's proposing to bring back some but not all of the lost funding.
DC Council Chairman Mendelson says he didn’t cut the Benning Road streetcar extension. DDOT says “that’s false.”
When a final budget came out of the DC Council the night after Memorial Day, I reported that it cut $60 million from the DC Streetcar and that would significant delay, or permanently scuttle, extending the line to Benning Road Metro in Ward 7. Chairman Phil Mendelson is disputing that's the effect of his cuts, but transportation officials re-confirmed to me that is exactly what will happen if the cuts stay.
Residents of DC's Ward 7, who have long awaited new investment in their community and support extending the H Street streetcar line to Benning Road, will have to wait six years or forever if the budget released last night by Chairman Phil Mendelson passes. That budget cuts about $97 million from transportation capital projects.