Grassroots public outcry reverses DC streetcar cut “in a blink of an eye”

From the National Assn. of RR Passengers May 28 weekly hotline, a dramatic example of fast grassroots action:

In a blink-of-an-eye turnaround, the streetcar line that is currently being constructed in the District of Columbia was killed off and then saved by a massive public outcry of support for the project.

On the morning of May 26, the District Council removed from the FY 2011 budget $47 million that had been set aside for the completion of the streetcar line—the first since trolley service ended in 1963.

Word got out quickly, however, through the actions of local bloggers and the Sierra Club, who relied on social networking technology like Facebook and Twitter to sound the alarm.

In the face of the resultant wave of calls and emails from angry constituents denouncing the move, the Council quickly reversed course and reallocated the funds, taking $10 million from this year’s budget, and placing $37 million from the 2011 budget in reserve (further council action will be required before that money can be spent).

To read more about the public outcry—and the actions of D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty—which saved the streetcar project, head over to the NARP blog to read about this dramatic example of the power of grassroots action.


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