Monday, June 02, 2014

Parsons tapped for Arlington streetcar project

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Despite continued sniping from anti-rail partisans, Arlington and Fairfax counties in Virginia have awarded a contract to Parsons Transportation Group to manage the municipality's proposed Columbia Pike streetcar program.

The contract, worth at least $7 million in the first year, was awarded Friday, May 30, 2014. A separate contract for design and engineering is now out for bid, with a selection expected by this fall.

Funding will come from Virginia state reimbursements and commercial real estate tax revenue designated for new transportation projects. Arlington will negotiate annually with Parsons for continued services.

"This is a major step forward for the streetcar project," said Arlington County Board Chair Jay Fisette in a statement, adding, "In the coming months, one of their primary tasks for our program will be to provide an objective review of the project and assess options for cost reduction, including exploring potential public-private partnerships."

"This high-capacity modern streetcar program for the Columbia Pike and Crystal City corridors, is critical for sustaining growth and building communities in both Arlington and Fairfax Counties. Parsons is honored to be selected, and our experienced project management team stands ready," said Parsons Transportation Group President Todd Wagner.

The streetcar program seams two separate lines into one, with the first 4.5-mile segment linking WMATA's MetroRail Pentagon City Station southwest to the Skyline area of Fairfax County. A second segment would extend streetcar service east and south to MetroRail's Crystal City Station.

In 2012 Alexandria, Va., withdrew from participating in a streetcar study with neighboring Arlington County, forcing the county to go it alone for its portion of the Crystal City streetcar segment.

Measurable resistance to the project continues in Arlington County, which is responsible for most of the project's funding. By contrast, Fairfax County has been more solidly supportive of the plan.