Arlington considers a $2.4 billion capital plan

Correction: The article incorrectly said that County Manager Barbara Donnellan recommended $537.7 million for school construction. That was the school superintendent’s recommendation; Donnellan took no position on it.

Arlington County Manager Barbara Donnellan wants to spend $2.45 billion over the next 10 years on such projects as improving streets, bringing a streetcar line to Columbia Pike and Route 1, and building an aquatics facility at the six-month-old Long Bridge Park.

Donnellan presented her proposed capital improvement plan to the County Board on Wednesday as board members began a series of work sessions to determine how much of the capital budget should go for schools, fire stations, bridge repairs and other improvements.

The plan is a chance “to look at some longer-term projects,” Donnellan told board members. “We have a huge focus on maintenance, paving streets and technology infrastructure. We will invest in strategic initiatives . . . and retain our financial stability.”

If Donnellan’s proposal is accepted by the board, voters will be asked to approve $111 million in bonds to pay for a $42.5 million swim center at Long Bridge Park; $25.7 million for maintenance of park facilities, street paving and transportation infrastructure; $14.6 million for Metro; $13.5 million for transportation systems; and $11 million for neighborhood needs.

Transportation-related expenditures, including commitments to Metro, account for almost half of the decade’s worth of capital spending.

Some county fire stations are 20 to 30 years old and will soon need to be replaced, Donnellan said. She also wants to reduce the backlog of maintenance projects, with $114 million for paving, $76 million for parks and $71 million for other facilities.

Donnellan also recommended $537.7 million for schools, primarily to complete the new Wakefield High School and to construct elementary schools.

Donnellan is scheduled to present the full plan at a formal board meeting Saturday.

The County Board and School Board are scheduled to meet Monday on the capital budget, and a public hearing is set for June 26. A final vote is expected in late July.

Patricia Sullivan covers government, politics and other regional issues in Arlington County and Alexandria. She worked in Illinois, Florida, Montana and California before joining the Post in November 2001.

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