The Senate cleared the final obstacle yesterday to redevelopment of Pennsylvania Avenue.
In an action so subdued it seemed anticlimatic, it voted $29 million for government-sponsored Pennsylvania, Avenue Development Corp. to begin the controversial project.
There was no debate as the Senate approved it as part of a $32 billion catchall appropriation bill for a long list of government activities.
As another part of the measure, the Senate also agreed to increase federal payment to the District of Columbia in a supplemental appropriation for this fiscal year by $16 million, bringing it to $276 million. The payment is $4 million less than the city had requested.
Although the Senate version of the appropriation bill -- including a difference in the proposed federal payment to the District -- must be reconciled with the House measure by a joint conference committee, there is no dispute on the Pennsylvania Avenue funding. So yesterday's action on that issue is final.
Among other things, the action apparently assures that the historic Willard Hotel, which has stood vacant at 14th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW since 1968, will be saved, preliminary plans call for its renovation and reopening under lease to a private operator.
Of the Pennsylvania Avenue money provided in yesterday's bill, $4 million will be spent on street improvements chiefly near the new National Gallery of Art annex. The bulk of the money, $25 million, will be borrowed by the corporation from the U.S. Treasury to buy private property for redevelopment into apartments, offices and shops.
Several other appropriations actions affecting the Washington area are:
$12.5 million to keep the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, a military medical school at Bethesda, open for the coming fiscal year in defiance of a shutdown decision by President Carter. The House bill does not provide similar funds, so the issue must be reconciled. An attempt by Sen. Wendell H. Ford (D-Ky.) to eliminate the funds for the university failed by a vote of 56-30.
$370.00 to bring the pay of the U.S. Park Police up to the levels of the D.C. Metropolitan Police.
$5.7 million for nonfaculty pay increases at Howard University and $958,000 for similar increases at Gallaudet College.
$4.5 million for emergency repairs to the leaky roof of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, omitted from the House version of the bill.
$8.9 million to subsidize the Georgetown and George Washington University medical schools and the Georgetown dental school, in expectation that recently announced sharp increases of tuition can be reversed. This item was put into the bill at the suggestion of Sen. Esward W. Brooke (R-Mass.).
$40 million for various programs of the D.C. government, to be paid for partly by the $16 million rise in the federal payment and the balance by local taxation.
The bulk of the District outlay, $31 million, is for pay increases. However, Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), chairman of the Senate District Appropriations Subcommittee, decided, without a request from the city government, to provide the first $746,000 of subsidy for the Metro subway -- a matter assailed by Mayor Walter E. Washington as interference in city affairs.
Leahy also was responsible for cutting federal payment by $2 million below the $18 million House in the version.
In his report to the Senate, Leahy said the city could make up the difference by aggressively collecting overdue parking tickets and bills due city-owned hospitals and clinics by former patients.
The bill also provides the D.C. government with a $650,000 special payment to reimburse expenses incurred during the Carter inauguration.