DC sets streetcar opening date

DC sets streetcar opening date
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Washington, D.C., officials have set a Feb. 27 start date for their long-delayed streetcar service. 

"Big news, DC! Streetcar to start passenger service next Saturday!" Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser tweeted Thursday. 

The official launch will cap a string of delays that have stretched across several years and multiple city administrations.

The streetcar, which will run on a 2.4-mile route in Washington's Northeast quadrant, is being operated by the D.C. Department of Transportation. 

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The agency has been criticized for multiple delays in opening the streetcar. 

The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) provided a list of fixes for officials to make before the streetcar could be opened and operated safely. 

Washington is one of several cities that has moved to open streetcars and light railways in recent years as construction costs have risen for traditional "heavy rail" subway systems like the city's Metrorail. 

The Obama administration has encouraged the construction of streetcars and light railways through grants that are made available by the federal Department of Transportation as Republicans have stymied President Obama's proposal to build more high-speed railways.

The D.C. streetcar was built with local funding, however.