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CBO Sets Wheels in Motion for Annual D.C. Soap Box Derby

The Congressional Budget Office says hosting the 73rd annual Greater Washington Soap Box Derby on the Capitol grounds won’t cost the federal government any significant money , clearing the way for the June 14 competition.  

Enterprising young builders will careen down Constitution Avenue in home-assembled vehicles this summer, pending a green light from the House and Senate.  

Unlike other derbies around the nation, the D.C. event requires an act of Congress to authorize the Architect of the Capitol, the Capitol Police Board and the Greater Washington Soap Box Derby Association to negotiate the necessary requirements to hold the race at the Capitol. House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., has been sponsoring the congressional resolution for more than two decades, with the support of fellow members from Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia.  

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee favorably reported the measure on March 13.  

Scores of children and their families typically attend the event, which blocks off traffic around the Hill to make way for the wild driving. The winners go on to compete at the national final in Akron, Ohio.  

Soap box racing has a long history in Washington, beginning in 1938. The annual event has been moved around the city from Eastern Avenue to Pennsylvania Avenue before finding a home on Capitol Hill.  

Last year, Hoyer lauded the event for teaching youngsters important lessons in physics and engineering and referred to soap box derbies as “the greatest amateur racing event in the world.”  

Correction Friday 5:39 p.m. An earlier version of this post misstated Hoyer’s title. He is minority whip.

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