The Arlington County Board on Saturday approved a 10-year financial roadmap for improving the county's streets, parks and water systems. The plan also sets aside money for major projects like a Columbia Pike streetcar and an aquatics and fitness facility at Long Bridge Park.
The $2.45 billion Capital Improvement Plan, which is updated every two years, is designed to invest in Arlington's aging infrastructure and puts a priority on acquiring more land for parks and open space.
Along with its unanimous approval, the board incorporated a $438 million Capital Improvement Plan by Arlington Public Schools, bringing the total spending outlay for the next decade to about $2.9 billion, according to a county news release.
Voters will be asked in November to approve $153 million in bond referenda to help pay for items in the plan — everything from the county's obligation to major Metro improvements to neighborhood traffic calming, construction of new elementary schools to a fiber optic network that will connect public buildings.
In the past, the county has relied on six-year plans to map out funding for major projects.
Compared to past plans, the 2013-22 Capital Improvement Plan bolsters tax dollars earmarked for street repaving by $24 million, parks and facilities renovations by $37 million, water system infrastructure by $41 million and Metro by $37 million.
The county's 2012 Customer Satisfaction Survey specifically identified street maintenance as an area of concern among Arlington's residents, the news release states.
While the plan approved Saturday includes significantly more money for the county's street paving program than what has been allocated in the past, it still falls short of what the county's streets chief said was necessary to substantially improve the overall quality of Arlington's roads.
The Capital Improvement Plan makes "strategic investments" in proposed streetcars along Columbia Pike and Route 1, a Long Bridge Park aquatics and fitness center, and the completion of ConnectArlington, the fiber optic network that will connect government and school buildings.
“Our streets, parks, facilities, water system and technology all need on-going maintenance and upgrades if we are to continue to provide the high-quality services that our community expects and that attract employers and visitors to Arlington,” Board Chairwoman Mary Hynes said in a statement.
“The Board also believes, after years of conversation with the community, that strategic investments in our transit system and our recreational opportunities — providing a streetcar system and an aquatics and recreation facility at Long Bridge Park — will well-serve generations of Arlingtonians to come.”