Will plans for D.C.'s streetcar be derailed?
(WJLA) - D.C.’s new streetcar system hasn’t even hit the tracks yet, and already, some say it is being derailed.
On Wednesday, the D.C. budget approved a big income tax cut, reducing streetcar funding by more than 50-percent and adding a tax to gym, health club, and yoga club memberships.
The grand plans call for a vast streetcar network stretching 37 miles throughout the District. But it has been facing opposition on the streets.
“I think they need to spend more money on fixing the roads as it is, because they're already having problems with those," says D.C. resident Shanelle Williams.
The mayor’s budget proposed spending nearly $900 million on the streetcar project over the next year, but Council Chair Phil Mendelson proposed spending $400 million instead.
“Yeah, that's just too much. They need to put that money toward housing for these homeless or these homeless," says Henrietta Harling of the District.
The mayor’s office says that if the council’s version is approved, it will kill the streetcar plans.
"Some of their criticism is over the top," argued Mendelson. "The reality is there's over $500 million devoted to street cars and they haven't been able to spend much of that."
Mendelson’s budget, which had a lot of support on council, called for tax cuts and hikes. It would also reduce income tax by up to 10-percent for some middle class residents and include a so-called yoga tax, which would apply the District’s sales tax to gym memberships.
And that would be enough to alter D.C. resident Angel Flores’ workout routine:
"Maybe exercise outdoors rather than joining a gym because everybody's got a budget, right?