A citizens advisory group called on the Metro Board yesterday to reorganize its proposed financial plan so that there would be no delay in the construction and operation of the Columbia Heights Metro station, in the heart of the 14th Street redevelopment corridor.
The request from the 14th Street Project Area Committee was included by the board in its formal submission of its financial plan to federal, state and local officials.TThe board has proposed two schedules of Metro construction for federal approval. One, which the board formally endorses, would finish the 100-miles system by 1965. The other, which Transportation Secretary Brock Adams already has said he prefers, would set 1967, as the completion date.
The longer schedule also includes two phases of construction. The first phase includes final design and land acquistion for all the uncompleted Metro segments, but puts actual construction and operation of the Columbia Heights station in the second phase.
Joseph S. Wholey, board chairman, estimated yesterday that under the two-phase schedule, the Columbia Heights station would open six months later than under the one-phase schedule. The station long has been the centerpiece in redevelopment planning of the Columbia Heights area, which was hard hit by the 1968 riots and has been slow in coming back. The exact location of the station has not been fixed, but it will be in the vicinity of 14th and Kenyon Streets NW on the line connecting downtown Washington with Greenbelt.
Leroy Hubbard, of the 14th Street committee said that "developers have told us they had to wait and see what would happen with Metro before they commit" themselves to the area. The Columbia Heights station, he said, "could be the difference between a first-class and a third-class community."
D.C. Transportation Director Douglas N. Schneider met with the group before the financial plan was released last week and had told the board that the plan met with the group's approval.
Hubbard said that "basically we agreed to something," but went on to say that "we can no longer ask our community to continue waiting."
In other news concerning Metro, a Northern Virginia Gov. John N. Dalton Wednesday and outlined the plan. Dalton reiterated his opposition to a regional sales tax increase earmarked for Metro. Both sides agreed that discussions would continue.
The board also gave the Metro staff authority to borrow funds in September to pay operating costs of Metro until subsidies from local governments comes into Metro's coffers early in October.
If Metro's costs exceed the budgeted subsidy, or if revenues fall short, local jurisdictions do not have to make up the difference for two years. The time lag sometimes causes cash flow problems said Metro General Manager Theodore Lutz.