Thursday, March 27, 2014
County's Streetcar Consultants 'Cherrypicked' Transit Systems to Boost Pike Streetcar.
Yesterday the County Manager and her PR Staff convened a press conference at 2100 Clarendon Boulevard so they could present the report of a consulting firm the County hired - HR and A Advisors, Incorporated. As you may remember, HR and A Advisors also helped Jay Fissete's Community Energy Task Force produce a Dominion-Washington Gas friendly community energy plan based on fossil fuel to generate electricity and heat.
According to handouts produced at the press conference, HR and A Associates concluded that a "Columbia Pike Streetcar Will Generate $3.2 - 4.4 Billion Over 30 Years". And, "Streetcar benefits include more jobs, more tax revenue than enhanced bus service".
So what is "enhanced bus service"? Enhanced bus service, as defined by HR and A, is NOT Bus Rapid Transit, like the Las Vegas BRT vehicle pictured above. Enhanced bus service consists of older articulated buses on typical city / suburban routes. Like WMATA's analysis of alternative Pike transit systems and Arlington's submission to the Federal Transit Administration for Small Starts funding, H R and A's analysis was careful not to include transit systems with successful state-of-the-art bus rapid transit vehicles.
So what else is new? When have we EVER seen anything at all about the successful Las Vegas BRT system from pro-streetcar Arlington Government, pro-streetcar WMATA, and the pro-streetcar local media?
H R and A's analysis completely ignores what will actually occur on the Pike - thousands of low-income residents living in affordable housing and thousands more vehicles generating who-knows-how-much-more traffic. But don't be concerned about that, let's look at what's going on in Portland. That's what happens when you hire Smart Growth boosters as consultants.
But, wait, it gets worse.County Government is so gone on streetcars that it's pushing for Streetcars Now, meaning right now, in Crystal City, funded together with all the other infrastructure for Crystal City via TIF financing - that is, out of general revenue. How many hundreds of millions will that cost?
County's Public Tax Rate Hearing is tonight, in the event anyone wants to complain.