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Barry ends opposition to streetcar contract

Councilman, Marion Barry, at a press conference in southeast Washington D.C, where he apologised for making anti-Asian remarks, Thursday, May 24, 2012
D.C. Councilman Marion Barry has withdrawn his opposition to a contract to finish the H Street streetcar line. (Examiner file photo)

D.C. Councilman Marion Barry has withdrawn his opposition to a $50 million contract to finish the H Street-Benning Road streetcar line.

The Ward 8 councilman said Monday that he pulled the resolution of disapproval he filed last week, which would have held up the design-build contract for 45 days.

Still, the end product of the contract, a trolley barn, faces controversy in the Northeast D.C. neighborhood where it is to be located. Community leaders planned to meet Monday night in an emergency meeting to discuss the plans to build the maintenance facility and storage barn for the streetcar line.

Neighbors say they weren't consulted about the idea.

For Barry, the concerns were about money and how the city is spending it.

But Barry said he has received a commitment from Mayor Vincent Gray's administration that the city will use as many D.C. residents as it can to build the trolley barn. Barry also said he was promised that the project will have a goal of hiring small and local, minority-owned businesses as 50 percent of its subcontractors.

"The most important goal is to keep as much money in the District as we can," Barry said. "My goal has been and continues to be creating jobs and opportunities for District residents and safeguarding their hard-earned taxpayer dollars."

Barry's reversal means emergency legislation introduced last week by council members Mary Cheh and Tommy Wells to circumvent Barry's opposition won't be needed.