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Video: Walter Tejada announces vote for streetcar, says it’s always easier to be negative, divisive

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Nice speech by Arlington County Board member Walter Tejada at last night’s meeting and vote, putting the Columbia Pike streetcar project into historical perspective, and talking about how it’s “easy to denigrate something, to attack it, to be negative, to create a divisive environment in our community.” In contrast, what’s hard is “to roll up our sleeves” and “come up with a plan just like other generations of Arlingtonians have done in the past.” Tejada also talks about how this streetcar project isn’t just about Arlington, but how this “strategic investment” is about “a regional vision for the next wave of public transit systems that will connect people around our area” (e.g., connecting into the District’s streetcar system, to Tysons and Alexandria).

  • Arlington County Board Chair Jay Fisette nails it when he talks about long-term planning, community engagement over many years, making hard choices even if they cost more upfront (like the decision to run the Orange Line down Wilson Boulevard as opposed to the I-66 right-of-way), and how he’s glad we didn’t listen to the negative voices back when Metro was being debated. Jay’s right, this is a “very exciting” vote, I just wish it could have moved faster and that the streetcar was already running.

    Here’s a quote from Jay, aimed at opponents, that I think is worth highlighting:

    “I would ask people in this community that worked on the Clarendon sector plan or the Rosslyn sector plan or Shirlington or anywhere else, how would you feel if you went through those years and years of meetings and then someone decides to change the plan. I think we have to have some integrity around our process and recognize the engagement that we’ve had.”