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County Board: ‘Not In Favor’ of Funding Gondola Project

Rendering of Georgetown-Rosslyn gondola (image via Georgetown BID)The Arlington County Board says it does not support further county funding of the proposed Rosslyn-Georgetown gondola.

The project would have cost $80-90 million to build and another $3.25 million annually to operate, according to a study, the findings of which were released in November.

“Given our identified and pressing transportation needs, along with some ongoing concerns about the long-term value of the gondola, the Board is not in favor of any further funding of the gondola project,” Arlington County Board Chair Jay Fisette said in a letter to the Gondola Study executive committee.

The full letter, which was released late this week on the county website, is below.

Dear Members of the Executive Committee,

On behalf of the Arlington County Board, I am writing to you regarding the Rosslyn-Georgetown Gondola study and to share our collective position on the project.

First, I want to thank you for giving Arlington County the opportunity to join you and other partners in exploring the potential opportunities for constructing and operating a gondola service in our region.

Board members, along with our staff, have reviewed the conclusions of the feasibility study for the proposed aerial gondola between Rosslyn and Georgetown. The study addressed many of the important components, including ridership demand, cost of installation, cost of operations, engineering, technical issues, and permitting requirements. An estimate of $80-$90 million was included in the study as the order of magnitude construction cost of the project.

Arlington already has a large number of transportation projects in the County’s Master Transportation Plan, including several in Rosslyn that will require substantial resources and attention over the next several years. The Rosslyn-Georgetown gondola is not a project included in our recently approved Capital Improvement Plan.  Given our identified and pressing transportation needs, along with some ongoing concerns about the long-term value of the gondola, the Board is not in favor of any further funding of the gondola project.

Thank you again for your joint efforts in exploring this particular alternative transportation option. We look forward to our continued partnership on other regional transportation initiatives.

Sincerely,

Jay Fisette, Chair

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