ANC 2E held its monthly meeting this past Monday at Georgetown Visitation School. The talk of the evening was the transportation of DC, including the DC Metro system and the proposed streetcar and gondola lift in Georgetown. Councilmember Jack Evans reported that DC Metro spends $2 billion annually to maintain service of its metro system; another $1.2 billion are spent for yearly repairs. Evans serves as Chair of the Council’s Committee on Finance and Revenue.
When asked about the proposed streetcar in Georgetown, Evans said, “I think it’s a terrible idea. We don’t have unlimited resources to do that.” Evans estimates that the proposed streetcar project would cost around $1 billion. “It’s going to cost $2.5 billion to encapsulate the tunnel of the Red Line, and another $3.5 billion to replace the cars to the 7000-series,” Evans said.
A proposed aerial gondola lift linking Georgetown to Rosslyn was also discussed. The project is headed by Joe Sternlieb, President and CEO of the Georgetown Business Improvement District. The gondola will transport an estimated 3500 persons per hour per rush. Sternlieb reported that the financing had not yet been worked out, but it is projected that the project will cost $80-90 million. The project will not be funded with the help of Arlington. In a recent letter to the gondola study committee, Jay Fisette, Arlington County Board Chair, wrote, “given our identified and pressing transportation needs, along with some ongoing concerns about the long-term value of the gondola, the board is not in favor of any further funding of the gondola project.” Sternlieb hopes to continue to garner community support for the gondola.
Education was also a big topic of conversation. “If I could wave a magic wand and correct one thing, [it would be] our school system,” said Evans, the longest serving Councilmember in DC’s history. The District of Columbia has the highest dropout rate, the lowest reading and math scores, and also the lowest average SAT scores in the country, according to a 2016 study from WalletHub. On February 24th, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser announced over $6 million in new investments for middle and high school STEM and algebra courses in the District.