Nine Things DC Spends More on Than Plowing Roads
District of Columbia officials utterly failed to make sure city streets were treated before passing snowfall Wednesday — two days before a blizzard is supposed to hit.
Wednesday’s inaction made conditions ripe for hundreds of accidents and six, seven, eight and nine-hour commutes home.
D.C. regularly budgets about $6 million for snow removal, but it only takes a couple winter storms to gobble it up. The District spent $25 million in 2010 during the “snowmageddon” that brought more than two feet of snow. The city also spent twice its snow budget in 2014 when frigid storms cost $12.5 million.
Here are nine things the D.C. government’s $13 billion budget spends more on than keeping residents and commuters safe in winter:
- $45 million — luxury park for poverty-stricken, crime-ridden Anacostia similar to New York City’s High Line Park.
- $50 million — payment to billionaire Washington Wizards owner Ted Leonsis for a new basketball facility in Anacostia.
- $20 million — Empowering Males of Color, a Bowser administration plan to create an all-boys school and deter young black males from ending up in jail.
- $300 million this year — pensions for retired D.C. government workers.
- $213 million this year — affordable housing programs for D.C. residents.
- $7.7 million last year — the city’s debt, most of which is interest rather than principal, according to the city’s fiscal 2015 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report.
- $46.9 million — loan to build a parking lot near the Columbia Heights Target.
- $50 million proposed over the next six years — planting trees and making more bike lanes and pedestrian walkways.
- $3 billion projected — the infamous D.C. Streetcar project, which was supposed to open last year, but still has no target start date.
Mayor Muriel Bowser has focused much of her first year filling D.C. with speed cameras and red-light cameras, which critics say can drive up accident rates. Bowser proposed a “Race to Zero” program, which would drive up traffic fines to $1,000 per ticket in hopes of eliminating all traffic injuries and fatalities and calming D.C. budget woes.
The District government already rakes in tens of millions of dollars each year from its camera program, but camera revenue was down last year due to broken cameras and cold, snowy conditions that kept people off the roads.
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