"I walked here faster," NBC Washington reporter Adam Tuss said Wednesday as he waited for the new Washington, D.C. streetcar he had just soundly beaten in a foot race to the 5th Street stop.
"There are still some issues [with the streetcar]," Tuss said. "We actually took a walk along H Street next to the streetcar today and made more progress on foot. We beat it from the Union Station stop to 5th Street in Northeast."
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"Residents here are frustrated by all of it."
"I don’t even know where it goes," local resident Sekou Stewart told WAMU. "Where does it end up? I don’t see where it’s going to help me at all."
"Why would I take that?" he said after being told where the line ends. "It looks nice, but I don’t see it being useful."
The DC streetcar project has been ongoing for six years now with a price tag of more than $200 million. However, it has yet to serve a single passenger and has been marred in controversy since it was first approved. The originally planned 37-mile network has been slashed to about eight miles.
As the administration of Mayor Bowser announced that the streetcar would enter simulated service, officials blamed the previous administration for the project's many problems. "This is a major milestone, but it is not the final step," DDOT director Leif Dormsjo said in a press conference on Wednesday. "This was attempted before in 2014 under the Gray administration. The [pre-revenue operation] was aborted."
"They…essentially had to go back to the drawing board to make some major changes, which this administration has been fixing over the past 11 months."