March 28, 2013

I wish Arlington’s million-dollar bus stop [“Arlington gets no rest from critics of bus stop,” Metro, March 25] were an anomaly, but sadly it is emblematic of the skewed priorities today of the county board.

My husband and I moved to Arlington 20 years ago largely because of its reputation for government responsiveness, citizen participation and frugality balanced with smart investment (e.g., the brilliant placement of Metrorail through the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor.) Unfortunately, though, today’s board has an edifice complex in that bigger and more expensive always seems to equal better.

It’s not just the bus stop. It’s also the unnecessary $250 million Columbia Pike streetcar; Rosslyn’s ­money-hemorrhaging Artisphere facility; and the Long Bridge Park complex, which will cost $165 million and includes a $413,000 “celebratory” sculpture.

Meanwhile, critical expenditures are being cut. A recent example: Arlington’s meager $50,000 annual contribution to the Arlington Free Clinic, which provides health care to low-income, uninsured residents, has been zeroed out in the fiscal 2014 budget. This Arlington is becoming unrecognizable to those of us who used to be proud of our county board and government.

Barbara E. Taylor, Arlington