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Arlington Moving Forward on Streetcar, Other Transportation Projects

Arlington County Transportation Director Dennis Leach at the May 16 transportation industry procurement briefingRoad projects, transit facilities and streetcar systems are among the items Arlington County has invited private contractors to bid on during the upcoming 2014 fiscal year.

Fiscal Year 2014 — which starts on July 1 and ends on June 30, 2014 — will be busy for the county’s procurement office. While residents are still debating the merits of the Crystal City and Columbia Pike streetcar systems, and while county officials regroup after being initially denied federal funding for the Pike streetcar, Arlington is moving forward with the projects by soliciting bids for engineering and construction.

Among the anticipated procurements in FY 2014, according to a presentation given to transportation industry representatives earlier this month:

One longer-range project mentioned during the briefing but not included in the procurement list was a second entrance to the Crystal City Metro station. The entrance would be located near the intersection of Crystal Drive and 18th Street, and would, among other benefits, offer easier access to the Crystal City VRE station.

County procurement and transportation officials told industry reps that they would seek to keep the procurement process as transparent as possible, while avoiding conflicts of interest.

“We aim to be transparent,” said Arlington County Transportation Director Dennis Leach. “We want to [stimulate] competition and we want good bids for these projects.”

In response to a question from the audience, Leach noted that the county still has not settled on which type of streetcar vehicle it will use — a key decision that could impact how the streetcar system is designed and built. He said there was no time frame for making that decision.

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