French Operator Selected
According to Railway Gazette International, the District of Columbia Department of Transportation has selected RATP Dev, a subsidiary of the Paris RATP, to operate the H Street and Benning road streetcar line under construction and scheduled to begin operation in late 2013.
This unit of the French capital's widely respected transit agency currently operates buses in 15 states in the U.S. Other RATP subsidiaries operate streetcars in Paris, Manchester (England), Alger (Algeria), Florence (Italy)m and Hong Kong.
Arlington County Board Endorses Columbia Pike Line
The Washington Post reports that in the early hours of July 24 the Arlington County Board voted to support construction of the planned streetcar line on Columbia Pike. The vote allows the country to apply for federal funding f0r 30 percent of the $199 million estimated cost.
The county hopes to cover 14 percent of the capital cost using state transportation funds. The remainder of the cost would be split 80-20 between Arlington and Fairfax counties, which would be covered by real estate tax on commercial property.
Residents remain split on the question of the streetcar plan. Some feel it will be no better than a bus. Others see it as a natural evolution from the Metrorail system.