When it comes to talk of the District’s streetcars, you better not blink.
DCist reported at noon today that the city council voted to effectively halt the massive downtown streetcar project by stripping from it $49 million in funding designated in the 2011 budget. However, less than four hours later, WeLoveDC reported the council immediately backpedaled after a deluge of angry phone calls and emails from irate constituents, eventually reinstating the project.
Earlier in the day, Mayor Fenty, who was once an outspoken supporter of the streetcar network, suddenly seemed to desert what seemed like his pet transportation project, saying debate over how to best power the cars had yet to be resolved, along with the question of whether the infrastructure would connect with Union Station. The council’s original vote would have shelved the project until 2014. Several million dollars and over 37 miles of track have already been invested in the system.
The streetcar scheme still isn’t out of the woods, yet, though. After the uproar, the council immediately reinstated only $10 million of the original budget, with a projected $37 million forthcoming.
Still, talk about democracy in action.