Streetcars in D.C. in 2013? Gray says yes

Jamie Forzato,

WASHINGTON – Will the District see streetcars by the end of this year?

According to Mayor Vincent Gray, the answer is yes.

Recently, NBC4 reported that the streetcars will not likely be available until 2014 because the length of the testing period is unknown.

Speaking at the MoveDC Idea exchange Saturday, Gray says the project is still on schedule to kick off this year.

“That report didn’t come from us. We didn’t advance this idea that we would be delayed until 2014,” he says. “People have asked the question: will streetcars be available this year?”

As he spoke, Gray turned to Terry Bellamy, the District Department of Transportation director who was standing off-stage, for the answer.

“A very reserved yes,” Bellamy replied.

Gray turned back towards the crowd of residents and said, “I will give you a resounding yes.”

With tracks already in place for the Anacostia and H Street/Benning Road corridors, the next step is to install a power supply. Gray says that will be completed over the next few months.

“Our goal is to have streetcars this year,” Bellamy said later, after Gray’s speech. “But you have to understand, once they go on the track, we have to run them. And then we’ll put them in revenue service.”

He adds they are still evaluating the cost, which could range from $750 million to $1.5 billion. The District is in talks with foreign investors, who have questioned whether those figures are too high.

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