The new streetcar lines in D.C. aren't even running yet, but already the city is moving forward with plans for more lines. Some routes will cut right through the busiest parts of the District, such as K Street, one of downtown's busiest corridors.
Phase one of the District Department of Transportation’s streetcar plan calls for 11 miles of track along K Street, 14th Street, U Street and Georgia Avenue. Studies of the streets are set to begin this year. Nearly $100 million has been set aside for streetcars over the next six years.
"I think people in Washington have a real understanding of how transportation investments, particularly transit investments, can really foster the types of lifestyles that we've grown to love in this community,” said Scott Kubly, associate director of the DDOT.
The hope is the District dollars can be leveraged through federal grants and other sources to pay for the project which will cost roughly a half billion dollars.
Amid budget deficits there are concerns over whether the city can afford such a major project right now, but DDOT insists it's an investment with a big payoff.
"I don't think looking back we would have said we shouldn't have built Metro because we had tight times in the 70s. With this type of thing you plan ahead and really need to look beyond the current economic cycle,” Kubly said.