The Arlington County Board met Wednesday to discuss details of the proposed 10-year capital improvement plan, which will establish ways to pay for and build long-range projects and maintain the county's existing infrastructure.
County Manager Barbara Donnellan released her proposal for a $2.4 billion plan in May. It includes investments in and the Long Bridge Aquatics and Fitness facility. It also increases capital funding for street paving, parks and facility renovations. A full copy of the manager's proposal is available online.
On Tuesday, the public will get a chance to offer feedback on the plan at a public hearing, scheduled for 7 p.m. in the County Boardoom. In the meantime, residents can also submit ideas via an online platform.
Several Arlingtonians have already weighed in on the discussion. An anonymous commenter wrote that too much money is spent on the school system:
"While I agree that schools are important, I feel we need to invest wisely and not blindly. This year 40% of the county's budget is spent on the school system that is only utilized by 10% of the population. Arlington outspends all other local municipalities on a per student basis. Just because Arlington has not elected anyone to the council that understands thrift, does not mean that there are not citizens concerned about the ever escalating tax rate."
Erik Gutshall said progressive thinking and smart spending is important:
"I love that Arlington has found a way to offer her citizens world class public infrastructure while maintaining real fiscal health. We are the envy of jurisdictions around the country. I hope that we will continue to make investments in the future like Long Bridge and Columbia Pike. There were many who said that undergrounding Metro in Arlington was folly back in the 60s. I could not imagine Arlington with Metro in the 66 median. Whether we realize it or not, we are making the same consequential decisions for our time right now. Let's not turn our back on the legacy we inherited."
Barbara Green wrote that she is disappointed residents have not been asked to vote the streetcar proposal up or down:
"Were all the statements made by all three candidates in the recent election (including the winner) about opposition to this project just rhetoric? Why is it that in Arlington citizens get to vote on whether or not to put a fence at Big Walnut Park but get no say in a huge expenditure like a streetcar?"
The board is expected to adopt the capital improvement plan by July 21. Make your voice heard by submitting a comment below or visiting the county's website.