Mayor's 2014 Budget Shows Confidence, Includes Money for Streetcars, Libraries

Mayor Vincent Gray cuts the ribbon to Georgetown's new Capella Hotel March 29, with hotel general manager Alex Obertop, Capella president Robert Warman and Bruce Bradley of Castleton Hotel Partners.
Robert Devaney
Mayor Vincent Gray cuts the ribbon to Georgetown's new Capella Hotel March 29, with hotel general manager Alex Obertop, Capella president Robert Warman and Bruce Bradley of Castleton Hotel Partners.

After Mayor Vincent Gray introduced his Fiscal Year 2014 Proposed Budget and Financial Plan March 28, he was seen around Washington at such places as Georgetown's new Capella Hotel for a blossom ribbon cutting and Nationals Park for baseball's opening day. Gray's view? "D.C. is the place to be," he said at the Capella.

"This proposal is the District of Columbia’s 18th consecutive balanced budget," according to the mayor. "As you know, the District’s economy is growing rapidly, with more than 28,000 private sector jobs created over the past two years and an unemployment rate that has fallen nearly three percentage points. To support our growing population and to continue building a more prosperous, equitable, safe and sustainable city for all, my proposed budget makes important investments in three key strategies: (1) growing and diversifying the District’s economy; (2) educating children and preparing the workforce for the new economy; and (3) improving the quality of life for all residents. . . . The $10.1 billion budget leverages the District’s strong financial position to make major investments in expanding affordable housing, strengthening education and workforce development, and safeguarding public safety without raising new taxes or fees."

While the budget centers on education, housing and public safety, it looks to revamp the main public library, the Martin Luther King, Jr., branch, and expand library hours. Also, within the budget's fiscal 2014 to fiscal 2019 Capital Improvements Plan, streetcar lines get $400 million. The first one slated to be from Georgetown to Minnesota Avenue for this year. Others include an Anacostia line and a line along Georgia Avenue. Amid other line items: $10.7 million for bike lanes and trails. The new budget also funds 10 new Capital Bikeshare stations beyond the more than 50 DDOT has already funded.

Gray also announced a series of town-hall-style meetings -- for each ward -- to introduce District residents to, and receive feedback from them on, his proposed fiscal 2014 budget. These meetings include:

Youth Town Hall Meeting: Saturday, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., April 20, Sumner School and Archives, 1201 17th St., NW.

Ward 2 Town Hall Meeting: Saturday, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., April 20, Sumner School and Archives, 1201 17th St., NW.

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Sat, 1 Nov 2014 05:37:51 -0400

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