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Columbia Pike Streetcar Remains County Board Issue

The Arlington Sun Gazette's Scott McCaffrey posted an online report earlier this afternoon on the Arlington County Board's so-called New Year's Day organizational meeting. Here's the lede of McCaffrey's report:

"The controversial Columbia Pike streetcar proposal dominated County Board members’ Jan. 1 organizational meeting, with a majority of board members working to fend off calls for a broad community dialogue before the quarter-billion-dollar transit line moves forward.

"County Board member Libby  Garvey, the lone board opponent of the streetcar plan, used the annual gathering to press her calls that the community be involved before elected officials agree to the five-mile transit line.

“I could be wrong in my conclusions about the streetcar. But I know I’m right about the need to have a robust and informed conversation,” said Garvey, who for months has pushed for a cheaper, “bus rapid transit” alternative for the Pike."

McCaffrey also reported on Board contretemps, writing:

"Rather than rebut Garvey directly, several County Board members used their own remarks to suggest, indirectly, that the time for discussing the proposal is over.

“Having had full and open discussion, do come to conclusions, we implement them and we move on to the next challenge,” said County Board member Chris Zimmerman, who – while speaking in generalities – almost assuredly had the streetcar proposal in mind.

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"Like Zimmerman, other board members addressed the issue only circuitously; one needed an advanced degree in County Board 101 to parse the nuances:"

Looks like the makings of an interesting 2013.

UPDATE (1/5/13): On January 3, McCaffrey added an item under the title, "Garvey Appears Unfazed, Undaunted in Streetcar Battle," writing:

"Libby Garvey’s quest to derail the Columbia Pike streetcar has won her dirty looks and grumbling in public – lord only knows what else in private – from her fellow County Board members. But she seems to be drawing strength from the public’s reaction to her efforts.

< . . . >

" Garvey’s speech on New Year’s Day was interrupted twice by smatterings of applause, the only time that happened during the day’s proceedings."

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