Excellent news from Arlington County, where transit and the environment scored a nice victory this morning with funding for a modern streetcar system along Columbia Pike. This system will bring benefits to Arlington, Fairfax, and the region for many years to come, with no need for general obligation bond funding, and with a huge return on investment (just like Metrorail has done for Arlington, but on a smaller scale). I look forward to this project being built, and hopefully for a lot more of these types of projects being built in the future!
- Fully funding Arlington Public Schools’ 2014 bond referenda request
- Reinvesting in aging park and County facility infrastructure
- Increasing funding for Metro, repaving streets, improving water and sewer systems
- Funding streetcar system, other strategic initiatives
- Approving $219 million bond referenda for November ballot
ARLINGTON, VA – The Arlington County Board today approved a $2.7-billion 10-year Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) for Fiscal Years 2015-2024. The plan funds County projects and infrastructure. The Arlington Public Schools adopted a $534.1 million CIP in June, bringing the total to $3.2 billion as the planned CIP investment over the next decade for both County and Schools.
“This CIP reflects the values and goals of our community,” said Arlington County Board Chair Jay Fisette. “The Board’s adoption of this plan comes after months of dialogue with Arlingtonians. Together, we’ve produced a balanced plan that maintains our existing infrastructure and makes strategic investments in our future. This is a prudent, financially sustainable plan that will meet the needs of our growing community and help maintain our triple-Aaa bond ratings.”
The Board voted 3 to 2 to adopt the CIP.
Strategic investments over the next 10 years:
- Arlington Public Schools: full support for APS’s $534.1 million plan to address growing enrollment including full funding of its 2014 $105.8 million referenda request which addresses capacity expansion at the elementary and secondary levels.
- Metro & Transportation: $1.1 billion in extensive investments (excluding Streetcar) to ensure safety, accessibility, and efficiency for commuters on bike, foot, car, and transit. These include the County’s commitment to Metro rail; investments in ART bus; Columbia Pike Transit Stations; new entrances or elevators at Ballston-MU, Pentagon City, Courthouse and Crystal City Metro stations; Capital Bikeshare and BikeArlingon, and Complete Streets projects at Army Navy Drive and East Falls Church.
- Streetcar system: $485.6 million to leverage new state funding and continue long-planned streetcar infrastructure investments, which are critical to the realization of the County’s economic development goals. The Adopted CIP includes no general obligation bond funding for the Columbia Pike or Crystal City Potomac Yard segments of the planned 7.4- mile streetcar system. It also eliminates Federal Transit Administration New Starts funding, and adds $52.3 million in new funding from the Commonwealth to the financial plan for the Columbia Pike segment.
- Lubber Run Community Center: An estimated $28 million proposed construction funding in Fiscal Year 2017-2018 to accelerate the replacement of one of the County’s oldest community centers, following a community planning process commencing in 2015.
- New fire station and OEM relocation: An estimated $25.1 million to design in Fiscal Year 2017 and build in Fiscal Years 2018-2019 a fire station in northern Arlington, following community engagement and planning processes that are just now beginning.
- The Board removed reference in the County Manager’s Proposed CIP to North 26th Street as the preferred location for a relocated fire station and OEM facility, and specified that the County will initiate collaborative processes for siting a northern tier fire station and an OEM facility, followed by master planning of the Old Dominion Road/N. 26th Street site.
- ConnectArlington: $5.5 million to expand the County’s fiber-optic, high-speed, dedicated network to further economic development goals.
Maintaining existing infrastructure – the CIP funds several areas of basic infrastructure:
- Street paving: a $14.1 million increase in paving over the previous 10-year CIP, including a 45 percent increase in the current year, for a total of $128.3 million for paving in the adopted CIP.
- Parks and facilities: continues the County’s reinvestment in playgrounds, courts, fields, and essential components of buildings such as HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) systems. The Board chose to accelerate investments in Tyrol Hills Park ($1.4 million) and Aurora Hills Community Center ($1.5 million). Design, including a community process, for Tyrol Hill Park, will begin in the spring or summer of 2015. Design for the Aurora Hills Community Center also will begin in spring or summer of 2015, and will build on the community engagement process that started earlier this year.
- Water/sewer system infrastructure and stormwater management: $317.7 million in water/sewer investments and $61.3 million for stormwater management, including increased support for the proposed Water Distribution Master Plan and Stormwater Management Master Plan, to meet state and federal requirements.
- East Falls Church improvements: The board accelerated $1,000,000 in funding for pedestrian safety and access improvements around the East Falls Church Metrorail Station.
- Four Mile Run: The board restored $1.1 million in funding for design and planning in Fiscal Year 2018 for later phases of Four Mile Run Park.
The Board also adopted revised financial and debt management policies to ensure maintenance of Arlington’s triple-Aaa bond ratings. The updated policies confirm the County’s operating reserve level of five percent of general government expenditures. The policies also confirm the County’s debt affordability ratios, including a modified, more conservative variable rate debt policy. Finally, a new policy regarding tax increment financing was added.
The Board today also approved the 2014 bond referenda, which includes projects in the following categories:
Metro and Transportation
Local Parks and Recreation
Arlington Public Schools
A total of $219.0 million in bonds will be put before voters, in four separate questions. The referenda will be held during the general election on Tuesday, November 4, 2014.
The County Manager released the Proposed CIP in May 2014. Since that time, staff has met with12 commissions and committees, and provided information at five County Board work sessions.
The Proposed CIP was posted on the County’s website, and the County Board held a public hearing on June 10. To read the staff report and County Manager’s recommendations made to the Board at the July 19 meeting, visit the County website. Scroll down to Item #43-A on the Agenda for the July Regular County Board Meeting. To read the revised financial and debt management policies, scroll down to Item #43-B. To read the 2014 bond referenda resolutions and questions, scroll down to Item #43-C.
Arlington updates its Capital Improvement Plan (CIP), a planning document that outlines Arlington’s long range capital investment objectives, every two years. Proposed capital projects frequently include parks and recreation, community conservation, technology, multi-modal transportation systems, Metro and transit, schools, utilities, and other capital programs.
The County’s Adopted CIP includes referenda amounts requested by the Arlington School Board to be voted on in November.