TRANSIT: APTA recommendations clear way for D.C. streetcar system

Association determined there are “no fatal flaws” that would preclude system opening

March 24, 2015

According to recent findings disclosed by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), the portion of the Washington D.C. streetcar line that describes a 2.2-mile route along H Street and Benning Road NE bears “no fatal flaws” that would prevent it’s opening to passengers.

The APTA review had been requested by District Department of Transportation head Leif Dormsjo as part of an effort to reexamine the streetcar project, on which the city has dolled out some $200 million this far. Following the APTA determination, Dormsjo stated that the project now looks fit to proceed.

“The mayor wants to get it right, so she’s asked me to put together the work plan to launch the streetcar. We’re committed to getting it open,” Dormsjo said.

This recommendation was not, however, a carte blanche approval. APTA gave the city a list of 18 items that must be resolved before the line can open, including addressing issues with the track and rail switches, ensuring all six city-owned streetcars work, bringing on a chief safety officer, assigning a new project manager and developing a master schedule for everything that needs to be satisfied prior to opening.

“The team believes that with the appropriate resources and commitment by DDOT, it is possible to open the streetcar system,” according to a letter from APTA.

A detailed draft report will follow in mid-April.