Arlington County Kills Streetcar Plan

The Arlington County Board voted on Tuesday to cancel the streetcar program that would have built a modern streetcar system along the Columbia Pike and Crystal City/Potomac Yard corridors.

The Board voted 4 to 1 to cancel the program and asked that the County Manager terminate all County streetcar projects;withdraw or modify applications for state and federal grants and terminate state agreements to fund the project; assess the implications on the County’s land use plan and Zoning Ordinance; its plans to build and preserve affordable housing in the Columbia Pike corridor; the Master Transportation Plan and the Capital Improvement Plan; develop alternate transportation strategies to improve transit options and capacity for the Columbia Pike and Crystal City/Potomac Yard corridors without a streetcar; and report to the County Board on the financial impacts of discontinuing the program.

The Board’s actions came just hours after Board Chair Jay Fisette and Vice Chair Mary Hynes (who together with Board Member Walter Tejada were the pro-streetcar majority on the five-member Board) announced that they had decided the program must be cancelled to heal divisions that were distracting the community from a range of pressing issues. The action puts an end to the Columbia Pike Streetcar program, which was first approved by the Arlington County Board and the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors in 2006.