People eager to ride the streetcar will have to wait a little longer.
H Street Streetcar service will not begin today (Wednesday), Mayor Vincent Gray said in a statement issued this morning.
“The DC Streetcar system is in the final stages of safety and security certification and will be open for passenger service early in the New Year,” the statement said.
Officials aimed to start passenger service within 2014. Disagreements between DDOT and the State Safety Oversight Office over safety documentation have delayed the process. The oversight office, which is part of the District’s Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services, has accused DDOT of filing misleading documentation, as The Washington Post reported.
Here’s the full statement:
As many know, launching the DC Streetcar system has been a top priority of my administration and of the District Department of Transportation (DDOT). Unfortunately, we will not be able to see that goal through to completion as we wind down, but I can tell you that we are exceedingly close to carrying passengers on H Street and Benning Road. We know that DC Streetcar will be a welcomed economic engine that will result in new services and amenities for the community and I am confident the benefits of DC Streetcars will be realized in the very near future.
While we won’t meet our goal of opening in 2014, the good news is that the DC Streetcar system is in the final stages of safety and security certification and will be open for passenger service early in the New Year. We continue to work side by side, day and night, with State Safety Oversight (SSO) in order to ready the system for passengers.
Safety is our top priority and we want our passengers to have the utmost confidence when they enjoy this new premium transit service.
At this time, DDOT has completed all the requisite steps for system testing and certification and has submitted its final Safety and Security Certification Report. The SSO is in the process of reviewing the final documentation and DDOT is addressing the SSO’s final recommendations based on its readiness review. All parties agree that this process will not be a long one to complete.
Once DDOT delivers on all SSO recommendations, the SSO approval to begin passenger service will follow.
Even though the cars are not yet rolling with passengers, I am proud that we’ve moved this important transit project forward after it stood still for years. I am proud of the staff that continues to work tirelessly to open the system for the public to enjoy, and appreciate our partners who have joined us in this certification process.
I look forward to the day very soon when I will be able to jump aboard with other residents who are excited about the DC Streetcar.