Arlington County Officials Beat the Drum for Controversial Streetcar Plan

County is marketing proposed Columbia Pike streetcar project with "Why Streetcar" videos to promote idea that some oppose.

A screen shot of a 'Why Streetcar' video.
A screen shot of a 'Why Streetcar' video.
In a move that seems to be meeting with more high drama than "A Streetcar Named Desire," Arlington County is continuing to market a proposed $358 million streetcar project.

The move appears to be having the opposite effect of stirring up those who are against the idea.

A series of 10 videos, each dubbed "Why Streetcar?" produced for Arlington County, presumably answers residents' questions and also promotes the controversial 4.5-mile Columbia Pike streetcar project. It's also getting some residents and officials who oppose the idea up in arms.

The "Why Streetcar" videos, feature local officials, community and business leaders produced by county-run Arlington TV has got those who oppose the idea asking questions like:

"My question is: Who paid for this video?" said Jake Gable, on new county board member John Vihstadt's Facebook page.  

Vihstadt is a Republican who won a seat on the county board in a special election April 8 largely on his opposition to the streetcar project. He took 56.9 percent of the vote. He'll face Democrat Alan Howze on the ballot again in November.

Vihstadt had this to say this week about the ads: "All the ad men on Mad Men couldn't sell Arlington taxpayers on the $500+ million streetcar!" (Referring to the combined cost of the Columbia Pike and Crystal City streetcars.)

Fellow streetcar opponent Libby Garvey, a Democrat who also opposes the streetcar, stated on her Facebook page: "These videos do not change that fact that a streetcar is a very expensive bad idea for Arlington that will not improve transit. See www.sensibletransit.org if you want the truth about streetcars."

ARLnow reader Pentagonian commented: "Where's the 'Because I said so, that's why' video?"


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