Plans to move forward with the design and construction of the street car project along H Street and Benning Road in Northeast have been put on hold over concerns expressed by Ward 8 Council member Marion Barry.
The veteran councilman, who once opposed the project, is reportedly challenging the $50 million contract to build the system and has filed a disapproval claim against Dean-Facchina LLC. As a result, the project faces a six-week stall. In addition to delaying the project, Barry's action could add more costs to the project for which tracks have already been laid on H Street.
"I'm not opposed to the H Street line if it can be shown there are cost benefits," Barry, 76, was quoted as saying. "For $50 million I could get at least three or four recreation centers built in Ward 8."
Meanwhile, Ward 6 Council member Tommy Wells -- in whose district part of the 37-mile track would be built -- is poised to file emergency legislation next week in hopes of circumventing Barry's opposition.
Ward 3 Council member Mary Cheh is also reportedly skeptical about Barry's disapproval, having indicated that he should have raised his concerns earlier rather than at the "eleventh hour."