Did the FTA have leeway on the 11th Street bridge?


In his response posted here on All Opinions Are Local, Rogoff makes two main points. First, he says that by federal law, FTA had to deny the District’s request to include the tracks once it learned about the issue. And second, echoing the statement his communications team put out on Friday, he says FTA gave D.C. Department of Transportation several options for including tracks by redoing or modifying environmental reviews.

The second point is mostly irrelevant; DDOT was too far along in the bridge project to reopen the environmental reviews by the time that happened in July of this year. But the first point is indeed the key question. Rogoff says FTA had no leeway. So far, all of the transportation professionals I have spoken with argue that they did.

Who’s right? In this response to Rogoff posted on Greater Greater Washington, I walk through the backstory as best I can determine it. But regardless of whether DDOT was wrong, FTA was wrong, or both, ultimately the residents of D.C. lose out. A bridge slated for three streetcar lines in the city’s plan is getting rebuilt without tracks. Taxpayers will have to pay more in the future to add them. And residents east of the river have to face further delays in bringing a valuable transportation resource to their neighborhoods.

David Alpert is founder and editor of Greater Greater Washington. The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.

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