Editorial: Help! Bring Back Downtown.  

In January, Mayor Muriel Bowser and then-Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development John Falcicchio presented “DC’s Comeback Plan” to business and non-profit leaders amid much fanfare. It all sounded positive and fairly doable with downtown recovery key to the success of the overall plan.  

Since then, Bowser’s chief advisor Falcicchio abruptly departed — a big loss to her administration. The slow return to office work by the federal government has not helped. Congress has become more a nag than a helper in supporting on the city. Converting office space into residential takes time.   

Moreover, D.C. government is not on the same page. The District Council has proposed items in the budget that seem quite anti-downtown: Adding a tax on for-hire vehicles traveling to downtown and defunding the K Street upgrade.  

We agree with Mayor Bowser and with Ward 2 Council member Brook Pinto, who stated: “As we continue to finalize the budget, I am calling on my colleagues to reject proposals that will undermine our efforts to revitalize Downtown. During the budget process, some members of the Council have proposed (1) eliminating the funding to transform K Street and (2) imposing a surcharge on rideshare trips in and out of Downtown. Both of these proposals would disincentivize people from living, visiting, and working in Downtown – precisely as we are trying to do the opposite. …  Compromising investments in Downtown is compromising our city’s economic future.”  

Are there D.C. politicians who have not recognized that the downtown is in crisis? Traffic may look like it’s back, but there are a lot of people no longer there who used to be there before the pandemic. With the continuing loss of people and businesses comes a decline in tax revenue for D.C.  

Where is the common sense here — or even the common caring for everyday people and not some politician’s personal agenda?  



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