Here comes the Trolley – Trolley is free for customers, not for city

Here comes the Trolley – Trolley is free for customers, not for city

As part of the citys initiative to lure tourists into Old Towns shops and restaurants in the wake of National Harbors development, the King Street Trolley officially kicked off its tireless existence Tuesday, chugging up and down King St. every 15 minutes.

The trolley is free for tourists and commuters, but not for the city, which originally expected to fund it with the state transit money. When the Supreme Court ruled part of the states plan unconstitutional, Alexandria was left with four trolleys and a lack of funding.

That kind of put us back to square one, Deputy City Manager Mark Jinks said.
The trolley service is expected to cost $800,000 plus operating costs, a small portion of the approximately $21 million expected by the City Council for the budget. Nonetheless, the trolley service will drive forward.

It seems like its a success, Jinks said while the trolley ran on an abbreviated test schedule. The trolley will likely stay, we just have to figure out where the funding will come from.

Council asked the city manager to reprioritize project funding using a tiered funding plan, solving high priority projects and deferring some projects too, according to Councilman Justin Wilson. 

When that money disappeared we needed to prioritize, Wilson said. Right now we have a plan that would essentially fund the trolley. Whether we accept that plan is yet to be seen.

We have a menu of options, Jinks said.

On the menu is the possible general property tax hike Council advertised, as well as a possible hotel and dining tax increase, the latter of which Jinks said would match Arlingtons.