Streetcars Could Cross Anacostia River

DC requests federal funding help for streetcar river crossing

The streetcar line currently in development in the District could someday extend across the Anacostia River.

District transportation officials said Tuesday they have applied for federal funding to extend the line that is now under construction on H Street and Benning Road, Northeast.
If the funding is approved, the $74 million, two-mile link to the Benning Road Metro station would receive $25 million from the Obama administration's urban circulator program for transit projects, according to the Washington Post.
District Transportation chief Gabe Klein said DDOT also plans to extend the H Street line to Union Station by building tracks on a right of way underneath existing Amtrak tracks, the Post reported. The resulting underpass would allow streetcar riders to easily connect to Metro and Amtrak service.


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The H Street-Benning Road line is scheduled to open in 2012. The line is part of a plan to build a 37-mile streetcar network to spur economic development in some of the city’s underserved neighborhoods.
What is still not clear is how the cars will be powered. Preservationists, including the National Park Service and the National Capital Planning Commission, are critical of a plan to use overhead electrical wires. They say the wires would block city scenery and streets. They propose a wireless system. But going wireless would triple the cost of the enterprise, Scott Kubly, the director of the streetcar project, told the Post.
Instead, the city has offered a hybrid system as a possible compromise. It would run on wires in some places and switch to battery power around the Mall and in other downtown areas.
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