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Will Mayor Bowser Halt DC’s Streetcar Expansion?

DC might need to start making T-shirts that say, “We spent $160M and all we got was this 2.2-mile streetcar line.” It appears Mayor Muriel Bowser doesn’t share former Mayor Vincent Gray’s enthusiasm for an extensive streetcar system—one that already had to be scaled back from 22 miles to 8 miles after budget cuts. Mayor Bowser is considering doing away with plans to extend the One City line and possibly even get rid of the short line in Anacostia, reports American University Radio. Instead, the focus is on getting the H Street line open to the public this year. Meanwhile, three contractor teams led by URS (merged with AECOM), Clark Construction, and Balfour Beatty Rail Infrastructure are patiently waiting to submit bids to design, build, operate and maintain a streetcar system after advancing to that stage this past fall. While a 2.2-mile line might not sound very useful, transit and urban planning specialist, and editor of the blog Beyond DC, Dan Malouff points to Portland as an example of a thriving streetcar city that started with one short line and gradually added.