Arlington Pols Call For Public Vote On Columbia Pike Streetcar Project

Both are candidates who support project.

Rendering of streetcars. (Patch file photo.)
Rendering of streetcars. (Patch file photo.)

Two Virginia politicians want voters to decide whether Arlington should launch a $310 million streetcar line on Columbia Pike.

Patrick A. Hope, a Virginia state delegate who is seeking the Democratic nomination in the 8th Congressional District race, and Alan Howze, a nominee for the Arlington County Board, both support the project and want voters to have their say, according to The Washington Post.

John Vihstadt, a Republican who ran as an independent and defeated Howze last month, has been a vocal critic of the project. The two will face off again in November for a full term on the County Board.

“It’s pretty clear our community is deeply divided over this issue,” Hope told the Post. “I think it’s time we have a full public debate and a public referendum . . . and we need to respect whatever the public decides.”

Despite his personal support for the Columbia Pike streetcar, Howze said it was clear during his door-to-door campaign this spring that Arlingtonians are not as supportive of the line as county officials think.

“Voters clearly didn’t understand why it was the right investment at the right time,” Howze said. “There’s an obligation to educate people and then give them a voice. The issue doesn’t lend itself to a 30-second sound bite, but the billions in economic development that it will bring will help pay for our overcrowded schools.”

Hope is one of eight candidates vying for the Democratic nomination to replace Rep. James P. Moran Jr. in the 8th Congressional District, which includes Arlington, Alexandria, Falls Church and part of Fairfax County. Moran is retiring.


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