Vikstadt, Garvey Motions Defeated to Defund Streetcars, Crystal City TIF. Independent Auditor Will Go Forward.
John Vihstadt delivered tonight on campaign promises to stop construction of the proposed Columbia Pike and Crystal City streetcars by offering a 3-part motion to: 1) Defund any County Government expenditures in FY 14 and FY 15 for Columbia Pike or Crystal City streetcar systems 2) Provide the County Board and the public with a full and transparent accounting of all FY 14 and FY 15 funds intended directly or indirectly for the Pike or Crystal City streetcar project 3) Task County Staff with recommending alternative uses of funds dedicated to the Columbia Pike streetcar so a) No funds be used for any streetcar project in any other corridor b) A substantial portion of any funds dedicated solely for transportation will be used to improve bus transportation on the Pike c) A substantial portion of funds not dedicated solely for transportation will be used to benefit Arlington's public schools.
For her part, County Board Member Garvey offered a motion to prohibit using TIF funds for Crystal City Infrastructure. According to County Staff, a Crystal City streetcar system and other Crystal City infrastructure would consume hundreds of millions in TIF funds, which would be debited from the General Fund accounts over the next decade.
Both motions were defeated by a 3-2 vote (Fisette, Hynes, and Tejada voting against), after acrimonious accusations by County Board Members Tejada and Fisette that Vihstadt and Garvey aren't going along with a previous County Board's program.
On a more positive note, John Vistadt's campaign promise to bring an Independent Auditor to County Government appears to have been accepted by all County Board members and is going forward.