Initial plans call for construction of two lines: a 2-mile track connecting Union Station and the H Street Corridor and a 1-mile segment between the Navy Annex and the Anacostia Metrorail station. The project, which District hopes will expand options for crosstown commuters and spur growth in underdeveloped areas, is expected to cost $194 million, with operation beginning in 2012. Eventually, the streetcar network will extend 37 miles citywide.
Finding adequate funding is the major challenge to kicking off the first phase, writes Derek Kravitz:
"The District government has applied for more than $110 million in federal funding, but last week it lost out on $18 million worth of U.S. Transportation Department infrastructure grants. Transportation officials have proposed tapping $180 million of debt service provided for the Metrorail system; private landowners have been lobbied to consider a special tax district or additional fees for zoning or density allowances; and public-private partnerships are being looked at."