New school, Metro lead $219M bond questions

Polling place signs outside Barrett Elementary SchoolArlington County taxpayers will be asked to approve $218.7 million in general bond obligations at the ballot box on Nov. 4.

The big-ticket question in that referendum will be $105.7 million for Arlington Public Schools, $50.25 million of which will pay for either a new elementary school adjacent to Thomas Jefferson Middle School, or additions onto Randolph and Barcroft elementary schools.

The voting public can only vote to approve or reject to each of the four bond questions on the ballot — for public schools, Metro and transportation, parks and recreation funding and community infrastructure. Each question requests at least $13 million in funding, and all of the referenda roll multiple projects into the larger categories.

The items in the $105.7 million schools bond, aside from the $50 million elementary school, are:

  • $28.75 million for a 136-seat expansion at Abingdon Elementary School;
  • $10.31 million for “minor construction/maintenance” at school facilities;
  • $7.47 million toward a 241-seat addition and renovation at McKinley Elementary School;
  • $5 million for a 300-seat expansion at Washington-Lee High School;
  • $4 million in planning and design for a new, 1,300-seat secondary school at a yet-undetermined location.

The funding items in the $59.74 million  transportation bond question:

  • $39 million for continuing funding of the Metro system;
  • $15.5 million for road paving;
  • $1.3 million for bridge renovations;
  • $2.39 million to be divvied up among WALKArlington, BikeArlington and “improvements to major travel corridors [outside] principal boundaries.”

The biggest items in the $40.15 million community infrastructure bond are:

  • $12 million for neighborhood conservation projects; $10 million for facilities maintenance;
  • $2.2 million for planning of the Salt Dome site on 26th Street N.;
  • $1.4 million toward a new Lubber Run Community Center;
  • $6.1 million combined for a new parking deck, wash bay and fueling station at the Arlington Trades Center.

The $13 million parks and recreation bond question includes:

  • $10 million for parks maintenance;
  • $2 million for land acquisition and open space;
  • $450,000 for Crystal City parks and open space;
  • $220,000 for Four Mile Run near-stream improvements.

The Arlington Chamber of Commerce has endorsed the transportation and education bond packages, with assurances from county officials that the additional debt  won’t affect the county’s triple-AAA bond rating. The chamber doesn’t take a position on the community infrastructure and parks and rec bonds because they “are not directly tied to economic development.”

“Maintaining and improving quality transportation and education are two of the key components of our public-policy positions, and these bonds will assist in easing the traffic crunch and provide seats for Arlington’s growing student population,” Chamber Chair Timothy Hughes said in a press release.


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