Last week, the D.C. Council approved a record $12.1 billion city budget for fiscal 2014. The new budget, which likely will be officially passed next month, includes several key changes to city transportation and low-income housing.
Circulator bus service, for example, has been extended significantly. Beginning by early July, the Circulator will reach U Street and Howard University, Southwest Washington, Glover Park, and the Washington National Cathedral. Additionally, a new Circulator service will offer tourists and other visitors a bus route along the National Mall in 2015.
“The combination of those expansions will put the Circulator very extensively around the District,” Council Member and Committee on Transportation and the Environment Chair Mary M. Cheh said, according to the Post. “The ability for people to get around is absolutely key to our continued economic growth, and the Circulator has been very popular because it’s very reliable.”
The service improvements come with a fare hike, however, and Circulator riders will pay $1.50 with a SmarTrip card and $2 without one per ride. Cheh explained that the new Circulator costs are in line with what other public transit users are already paying for their Metrobus routes. The higher fares will help cover the costs associated with the service expansion.
The 2014 budget also changes the way D.C. taxes gas. Instead of taxing consumers 23.5 cents per gallon of gas, D.C. will levy an 8.3 percent tax on the wholesale purchase of gasoline. So, while consumers will no longer pay a gas tax in the District, the cost of gas in D.C. will not fall, as gas companies will pass along the cost of their new taxes.