In his latest Waste Report, Senator Rand Paul lambasted the District of Columbia for what he calls, “a calamitous” D.C. streetcar idea. Paul even went as far as to call the project, “A Streetcar Called Waste”.
Here’s what Paul said in “The Waste Report”:
“Last week the District of Columbia finally opened its calamitous streetcar to the public, years behind schedule and at a cost of $200 million. Thankfully, despite repeated attempts to get federal funds, the D.C. streetcar was built without federal taxpayer assistance. But not to worry, with this kind of boondoggle right in the federal government’s backyard, Uncle Sam still found a way to waste your tax dollars.”
Sen. Paul raises a very good question when it comes to the D.C. streetcar. Is it really necessary when the District already has a fully functioning Metro?
Paul, who himself is known to use the Metro from time to time, doesn’t think so and points out that the Metro has around 40 stops and also operates in Virginia and Maryland.
The Kentucky Senator believes that the $1.6 million from grants would have been better used on the Metro and not the streetcar, especially since the former has had unresolved safety issues.
Responding to Rand Paul’s comments about the D.C. streetcar, Mayor Muriel Bowser’s administration lashed out, going as far as to call the U.S. senator “obviously hypocritical”.
Bowser’s spokesman Mike Czin additionally implied that Paul had different standards when it came to building a streetcar in his own state of Kentucky.
However, a spokesman for Paul, Sergio Gor, denied that the former GOP presidential candidate was supporting any group interested in building a streetcar in Kentucky.
Gor said that Paul’s team did meet with representatives last week regarding such, but that they “lacked any plans, any studies or even an estimate of funding needed”, as well as that “Paul has not come in favor of any streetcar program.”
“This is nothing but an attempt by the DC government to deflect blame for their failed management of this project. Senator Paul will continue to oppose DC’s streetcar to nowhere.” (WaPo)
The D.C. streetcar finally opened on February 27, a decade or so after the officials first brought the idea to public. The project missed several deadlines, thanks in large part to poor planning, and saw seven District Department of Transportation’s directors and four mayors come and go. The whole project spent over $200 million.
Some, like the D.C’s. Congress representative Eleanor Holmes Norton, couldn’t believe that the streetcar was finally here:
“We’ve been waiting so long for this streetcar, it feels like magic. Is this really happening?” (Washingtonian)
Do you think the D.C. streetcar was a good idea, or a huge waste of money? Tell us what you think about it in the comments below the article. Show your support for Rand Paul on our Facebook and Twitter pages.
(Photo courtesy of Andy Price, Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0)
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