On January 7, Mayor Bill Euille wrote the following:
“First, in regard to the heavily used King Street Trolleys, which have carried more than one million riders since the service began in early 2008, the city’s decision to purchase hybrid trolleys was made in recognition of 1) the environmental benefits of having transit vehicles that emit 95 percent less pollution than the current trolleys; 2) the transportation and tourism value that the trolleys provide; and 3) the environmental value of using these hybrid vehicles in a busy retail area such as King Street. In the 21st century, elements of marketing Alexandria as a place to live, work or invest in will include environmental initiatives such as the use of hybrid trolleys. For the $0.2 million cost to the city and the $2.4 million federal cost, the hybrid trolleys represent a very sound investment in the city’s economic — and environmental — future.”
First, where do many of the ‘one million riders’ come from? Because of the convenience, I have taken the trolley on numerous occasions since the trolleys debuted in 2008. On the rides I have taken, most of the ridership is fellow residents and NOT tourists.
The trolley is also very unreliable. Last Sunday, after waiting for 25 minutes for the trolley along with several folks near the Hotel Monaco at a trolley stop, the trolley came up King Street and passed us by. I ended up sharing a cab with the same folks to the King Street Metro.
Second, many studies, including one by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, shows that hybrid vehicles reduce greenhouse gas emissions by only 15% on average. So the environmental benefits of these new trolleys will be minimal at best and NOT the 95% figure boasted by the Mayor.
Lastly, the City Council is taking money from my kids and yours in order to pay for these trolleys. Most of the purchase price is being funded by a $2.4 million grant from the stimulus package – money that will need to be repaid sometime in the future. Who is going to end up paying back the $2.4 million dollars for this expenditure? Not you or I, but our kids. And that’s just plain wrong.
This purchase of ‘new’ trolleys during a very severe recession, which is going to get worse, is akin to my going to Fendi and purchasing my wife a $38,000 purse that she doesn’t need and using my 18 month’s old allowance to pay for it.
It is time for the City Council to realize that bills MUST be paid with existing resources instead of on the backs of others. Local governments MUST do more with less money. The City Council should do and promote what every family in America is already doing; surviving with existing financial resources.
Our City Council should show some grit and determination to stop the epidemic of uncontrolled and out of control spending when the piggy bank is already gone. This has plagued our City for YEARS as liberals like Mayor Euille have been spending the City’s money like drunken sailors. This has to stop.
Every member of City Council who authorized this purchase should be ashamed of themselves from Mayor Euille, Vice Mayor Donley, Frank Fannon, Alicia Hughes, Rob Krupicka, Del Pepper, and Paul Smedberg.