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Rand Paul Takes Aim at DC Streetcar

The DC streetcar opened Saturday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
The DC streetcar opened Saturday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Rand Paul is no longer on the presidential campaign trail, but that doesn’t mean he’s going to stop railing against the nation’s capital — or, more specifically, its brand new streetcar.  

In his capacity as one of the Senate’s government waste-watchers , the Kentucky Republican called the new streetcar, which opened Saturday, “A Streetcar Called Waste.” Paul’s office pointed out that federal funds were not involved in building the streetcar but the D.C. government did receive $1.6 million in federal funds to study the line’s expansion. “While streetcars are the current transportation fad, one must wonder why D.C. needs one in the first place,” wrote the report’s authors, who pointed out that the District utilizes the tri-state Metro rail and bus system.  

The streetcar project has been the brunt of many jokes in the nation’s capital, since it has taken several years to reach the finish line. But on Saturday, riders boarded the streetcars on its first stretch to open, which spans 2.4 miles of track on H Street in Northeast D.C., from Union Station to the Anacostia River. D.C. officials hope to expand the streetcar system to cover 37 miles.  

Paul also took a swipe at federal funds to Metro. The federal government contributes $150 million to the system, which representatives from D.C., Maryland and Virginia argue is necessary given that scores of federal workers use the system, and the system is also home to the nation’s capital. Paul’s report noted “it is not the federal taxpayer’s responsibility to fix Metro,” but that the federal government “ponied up” and appropriated the funds again this year.  

Either way, it seems safe to say that Paul, who has been spotted riding the Metro , probably won’t be seen on the D.C. streetcar anytime soon.

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