A Columbia Pike streetcar would spur $3.2 billion to $4.4 billion in development over the next 30 years in Arlington and Fairfax counties, triple the amount that would be triggered by improving bus transit, according to a consultant’s study released Wednesday.
The report by HR&A Advisors said the benefits of building a streetcar line between Bailey’s Crossroads and Pentagon City would far exceed the expected $310 million cost of the project – boosting property values, new construction and tax revenue.
Development encouraged by the streetcar project would result in as many as 6,600 new jobs…
If you’re interested, I strongly recommend that you check out the study for yourself. Also, I’ve taken a few screen shots of highlights, which you can see below. The bottom lines are:
1. The economic benefits to Arlington and Fairfax Counties that would come from investing in a streetcar system rather than enhanced bus service are enormous. It’s not even close. Heck, it’s not even CLOSE to being close. Which really calls into question what the anti-streetcar folks – including Republican and anti-streetcar County Board candidate John Vihstadt – have been yammering about the past few months. It’s never made any sense to me, and after this study, I am 100% certain that the anti-streetcar folks’ arguments are just dead wrong.
2. Because of its enormous return on investment, the streetcar MORE THAN PAYS FOR ITSELF! Assuming a 3% discount rate, for instance, the streetcar brings in $895 million in additional tax revenues over 30 years, nearly THREE TIMES the $310 million cost of building the streetcar system. Enhanced bus service brings in far, far less tax revenue, in large part because it spurs far, far less economic development. The streetcar also carries more passengers than enhanced bus service. In short, there are NO economic or tax revenue advantages to enhanced bus service over a streetcar system along Columbia Pike. Z-E-R-O. Case closed. Build the darn streetcar already and let’s start enjoying the (massive) benefits that will flow from it!