The first 4.7 miles of a streetcar network have been funded along a major corridor in Northern Virginia.
The Northern Virginia Transportation Authority voted to fund the 4.7-mile Columbia Pike line, connecting Pentagon City in Arlington County to the Skyline area of Fairfax County. In the future, advocates hope the streetcar network will eventually run from Alexandria to Tysons Corner. Authority Chairman Chris Zimmerman says, "It is one of the most important things we can do to move people in Northern Virginia and deal with air pollution and global warming."
The authority approved $36.9 million for the streetcar project as part of a $392 million spending plan for the next two and a half years, including funds for Metro, bike trails, and improving highway interchanges.
"Backers also cite the psychological benefits of rail, saying people who would not ride buses are more likely to at least occasionally give up their sedan or sport-utility vehicle for a streetcar, just as they do for Metro. The project could also reassure those considering developing property along the tracks, especially during an economic downturn, according to Peter Owen, a member of Arlington's transportation advisory commission."