DC.Streetsblog.org reports that the $8.7 million contract recently awarded by the DC Department of Transportation to Oregon’s United Streetcar for two streetcars has been cancelled. The action followed a protest from Czech-based Inekon, builder of the three cars currently on-hand for the H Street/Benning line. Inekon, whose bid was $800,000 higher at $9.7 million, claimed the United Streetcar bid’s low technical score should have ruled out awarding the job to that firm. Whether the cancellation will delay the project, currently scheduled for completion in 2014, is unclear.
The implications of congressional proposals to tighten “Buy America” requirements for transit vehicle procurements is unclear as well. United Streetcar is the only American manufacturer of streetcars, though they have yet to deliver any cars to launch customer Portland.
Economic Development Anticipated
District Office of Planning Director Harriet Tregoning forecast that property values along the planned network of streetcar lines could increase by as much as $7 billion and that from $5 to $7 billion of new development could line the routes. Dcist.com reports that she made these remarks in a presentation at the National Building Museum.
She said that as more district residents are close to rail lines, more people would walk increasing a sense of safety and leading to more business at retailers along the walking routes. Streetcars would make busy commercial areas more pedestrian friendly and would inspire development in newly served underdeveloped areas.
How these development benefits would translate into funding to construct the full 37-mile system remains to be defined fully.