Arlington streetcar federal funding derailed by higher projections

The project to build a streetcar line along Columbia Pike in Arlington will end up costing much more than originally expected, the Sun Gazette reports.

According to a study by the Federal Transit Administration, construction of the line that would connect Pentagon City with the Skyline neighborhood in Bailey's Crossroads would cost about $310 million on the local level.

That's $60 million more than is acceptable by the administration's "Small Starts" funding program, which provides up to $75 million for projects that come in at under $250 million.

The Sun Gazette reports that Arlington is now looking into potential alternative sources of federal funding.

Arlington County Board Chairman Walter Tejada said, "...we're moving forward...with our modern streetcar system..."

Good news to some who make a living along Columbia Pike, but others can't peddle away from Arlington fast enough.

Some residents believe the $1 million bus shelter was enough of a boondoggle, and they question if taxpayers will have to shoulder construction costs for the street car project.

Andrew Chadeayne of Arlington said, "People who you think have excellent high paying jobs...avoided this area entirely, because they can't afford a little house here."

But the county says special commercial taxes will cover the construction. They even have the option of private financing.

"Our fiscal management track record is second to none. We just had our AAA bond ratings from all three bond agencies re-valued," Tejada added.