PRESS RELEASE: Arlington County Celebrates Christmas in July

July 24, 2023.

Merry Christmas in July! The time to give gifts to developers paid for by County residents. I’m Audrey Clement, Independent candidate for Arlington County Board on November 7, 2023, and I think you should know about the County’s latest taxpayer paid boondoggle.

This July Christmas, the Board authorized a staggering $146 million of taxpayer money to create a second entrance for the Crystal City Metro station whose ridership declined 62% in average daily entries since 2012, according to Metro’s own numbers. This project will likely prove a windfall for developer JBG Smith, but a folly for you and loss for residents facing floods and school crowding.

The staff report for this project, which was approved by County Board on July 15, 2023 says: “The Crystal City Metrorail station is among the most heavily used” and the “area is experiencing continued growth….(p. 2)” Yet, shockingly, staff didn’t mention the dramatic drop in ridership at the station since 2012 (ongoing since before COVID).

The staff report also failed to mention that the new entry is a mere 500 feet from the existing one. In other words, it will cost taxpayers $292,000 per foot in reduced walking distance for those who live and/or work near Crystal Drive.

What is worse, the $146 million gift to JBG Smith came the same week that County Fire and Rescue had to use a boat to save residents trapped in their cars on South Joyce Street.

Worse still, WMATA has reported that Metro faces a $750 operating deficit in FY 2025. That means that Arlington taxpayers will soon have to cough up millions of additional dollars to offset WMATA’s deficit, in addition to funding its current Metro operating subsidy of $47.5 million (p. 391).

If elected I will object to contracts like Arlington County just awarded to JBG that pays a developer to construct infrastructure on property it owns and from which it will likely profit. Since JBG expects to realize increased occupancy rates for its Crystal City office buildings through the new Metrorail facility, it ought to cough up some of the money for it.

If elected, I also pledge to:

  • Seek immediate tax relief for residents and businesses.
  • Emphasize basic services like: streets, schools, libraries and public safety.
  • Stop “Missing Middle” up-zoning, which will not produce affordable housing but will have major negative impacts.

If you share my agenda, then:

  • Spread the word about my candidacy.
  • Donate to my campaign.
  • Help make the “Arlington Way” more than an empty phrase.