Mayor: D.C.’s ‘modern’ streetcars deal solidifies 2013 plans

Streetcars are expected to be rolling on H Street next year. (DDOT)

WASHINGTON – The District has solidified a contract with an American supplier for new streetcars, the mayor says, proving the city’s commitment to launching the retro network by 2013.

The District Department of Transportation selected Oregon Iron Works, Inc. to build two streetcars, which the city describes as “modern,” according to a recent release, to run with three cars the city already owns. The new network includes a line along the H Street corridor in Northeast.

“This contract, which we have sent to the Council for consideration, reaffirms our commitment to begin streetcar service in the District next year,” says Mayor Vince Gray, according to the release. “Investing in streetcars makes sense both economically and environmentally, and we must continue to move forward with the program.”

DDOT Director Terry Bellamy says these new additions will bring their fleet up to a size that “will allow us to successfully deliver a safe and reliable transit system.”

D.C. purchased the first round of street cars from the Czech Republic. They arrived through the Port of Baltimore in December 2009.

The beleaguered project has had to overcome significant hurdles, including installing the tracks on the busy corridor, proving a great strain for area businesses. The line was originally slated to be open to the public by 2012, but those plans were pushed back to 2013.

More than 80 new businesses have been drawn to the corridor in anticipation of its increased access via the streetcar line.

Once finished, streetcars will travel on a 37-mile network around the city, connecting other areas isolated from public transportation like Anacostia, and Georgia, Florida, Rhode Island and Minnesota avenues.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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