D. C. Area Rejects Streetcar if Homeowner Taxes are Required

COST Commentary: This is a great model for Austin as its proposed urban rail will result in major increases to homeowner taxes. In one of the top transit areas in the nation, Arlington (near Washington D. D.) rejects streetcars (Austin’s urban rail by another name).

Arlington board rejects streetcar referendum

By Patricia Sullivan June 17 at 3:10 PM

The majority of the Arlington County Board today refused to hold a public vote on the Columbia Pike and Crystal City streetcar projects, saying they do not have the legal authority to order an advisory vote, and any other option would require them to use local homeowners’ taxes, which they do not want to do.

“I’m committed to the streetcar, but not at any cost,” said Jay Fisette, board chairman, in an interview just before giving his public statement. “If it requires Arlington homeonwers to take on bond debt to pay for it, I will walk away from it.”

Board members Mary Hynes and Walter Tejada joined him in his statement.

Pressure for a public vote came with the election of John Vihstadt this spring, who based his campaign partly on opposition to the Columbia Pike streetcar project. Last month, four local Democrats joined the call.

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