Route 1 streetcar: A streetcar with two desires

Hank Silverberg,

ARLINGTON, Va. – Arlington and Alexandria both want a streetcar line along Route 1 to link the Northern Virginia communities but the two are at odds over timing and tactics.

The five-mile long streetcar line would connect Pentagon City in Arlington to Potomac Yard in Alexandria.

How to pay for the streetcar line has been the focus of the disagreement.

Arlington leaders will unveil their latest plans at a Tuesday night meeting, after surprising Alexandria leaders a few months ago by deciding not to seek any federal funding. The meeting from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday will be held at the Crystal Park Condominium Meeting Room at 1805 Crystal Drive.

The streetcar line could cost about $144 million.

In contrast, Alexandria will apply for federal funding. City leaders want the streetcar but have decided to first develop a new in-fill Metrorail station at Potomac Yards. That project could cost $538 million to complete, with federal funds being sought.

While Arlington County doesn’t want federal funding for the Route 1 streetcar line, it is planning to use some federal funding for a second, $249 million streetcar line to connect to Fairfax County along Columbia Pike. The line would run from Crystal City to the Skyline area of Fairfax County.

County leaders say the new line would attract enough new development that new tax revenue will help pay for it, The Washington Examiner reports.

The streetcar lines are being designed to fill in to areas where Metrorail does not reach.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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