The culprit? Mayoral candidate and fence-bylaw-flouter Vincent Gray and his Deputy Director for Capital Projects, Sarah Campbell. GGW notes that Campbell is friends with the anti-overhead-wire lobby, which, in turn, is no good friend of the streetcar project. According to GGW, "There's no way to know for sure how much of her opposition came from professional opinions or personal loyalties." But more than anything, I think Gray wanted to make a splash in his campaign for mayor and prove that he can make "tough" budget decisions.
I know he made a splash with ctrl+alt+dc. It's looking like some FENTY 2010 banners may be popping up around these parts. The primaries will be held September 14, 2010.
Update: Officially dead.
Update 2: Signs of life?
Councilmember Tommy Wells has responded to my email of support as follows:
I’m arguing against these cuts to the streetcar system and just voted against the budget because of it. There is a final vote later this afternoon and I have an amendment ready to introduce to restore some of the funds.
Please keep calls and emails to my colleagues coming.
Update 3: Success!
The funding has been restored.
From Nikita Stewart at the Washington Post's Breaking News Blog:
“The decision to restore funding came just hours after the council said they would pull money from the streetcars to fund other services. But within moments of the decision, the council was inundated with calls.”
Nice work everybody!