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Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen wants to give a $100-per-month Metrocard to every resident in D.C. That’s right, D.C. could be the next city to offer significant transit subsidies, taking after Kansas City, Missouri, and Olympia, Washington.

“The program only costs as much as residents use it,” writes Allen in his proposal, as first reported by the Washington Post. “If a resident only uses $30 of the $100 monthly balance, at the start of a new month, the cost would only be $30 to restore the balance to $100. For someone who did not use any of the balance, it would cost the District $0.”

Allen intends to introduce a bill that subsidizes transit this week, with the kickoff beginning Monday morning. Seven councilmembers in total support the bill, including Chairman Phil Mendelson. The idea is to boost the economy by attracting and retaining workers while also helping low-income residents who’ve been priced out of the District. The bill also includes a $10-million-dollar cash fund to support the neediest of transit systems.  

The argument against transit for all is simple: Who’s going to pay for it? 

Allen prepared for this question. According to the Post: “He said the proposal would not require any cuts to city services or emergency savings. At an estimated cost of $54 million to $151 million a year, depending on factors that include usage and negotiated discounts, the program would be paid for with tax revenue above what the government budgets to spend annually.” 

Allen has been looking into making public transportation more affordable, in part, to deter fare evasion. 

Meanwhile, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority is looking to add a 25-cent surcharge on cash riders for buses and cut 22 bus lines, nine of which are in Ward 8. Ward 8 Councilmember Trayon White says cuts and consolidations could gravely impact his residents, as upward of 70 percent do not have a car. Today is the last day to provide feedback on this budget proposal. —Amanda Michelle Gomez(tips? Email agomez@washingtoncitypaper.com)  

CITY DESK LINKS, by Amanda Michelle Gomez:

  • There were two fatal shootings on Sunday within an hour. One of the homicide victims is 13-year-old Malachi Lukes. [Post, WUSA9

  • How is the D.C. government responding to ongoing gun violence? [WAMU

  • A 24-year-old student at University of Maryland was arrested for sending anti-Semitic text messages to another student. [WTOP]

  • COVID-19 Updates: 

    • There are zero confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the District. Mayor Muriel Bowser names DC Health and DC Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency as coordinating agencies for the city’s coronavirus response team. [Press Release]  

    • Q&A about COVID-19. [WAMU

    • DC Public Schools emails students and their families about COVID-19 after parent expresses concern over the weekend that her child’s school had not sent any information. [Twitter]

LOOSE LIPS LINKS, by Mitch Ryals (tips? mryals@washingtoncitypaper.com

  • A look back at the Sierra Club’s Ward 2 candidate forum. Another forum is scheduled for this Thursday. [DC Line]

  • Coronavirus could have an impact on D.C.’s revenue, CFO Jeffrey DeWittsays. [WBJ]

  • Reunion Square development in Ward 8 could finally move forward. [WBJ]

  • ICYMI: Sports betting could come to D.C. by the Nats’ opening day. [WAMU]

YOUNG & HUNGRY LINKS, by Laura Hayes (tips? lhayes@washingtoncitypaper.com

  • How to try nine new restaurants, ranging from Thai to vegan Italian, before anyone else. [WCP]

  • The restaurateurs who make up Social Restaurant Group are suing each other. [Washingtonian

  • Where to drink up while you watch the Super Tuesday results roll in. [DCist]

  • New ways restaurants are prioritizing the mental health of their workers. [Eater]

ARTS LINKS, by Kayla Randall (tips? krandall@washingtoncitypaper.com)

  • The cherry blossoms are coming, y’all. [Post]

  • The National Portrait Gallery presents some never-before-seen John Singer Sargent charcoal works. [Washingtonian]

  • Here’s how the U.S. Botanic Garden is celebrating its 200th birthday this year. [DCist]

SPORTS LINKS, by Kelyn Soong (tips? ksoong@washingtoncitypaper.com)

  • For local elite runners, the Olympic Marathon Trials in Atlanta on Saturday proved to be an experience like no other. [WCP]

  • Michigan State denied Maryland men’s basketball a chance to clinch first place in the Big Ten. [AP]

  • Arlington’s Mike Wardian placed third in the USATF 50K Road Championships in 3 hours, 6 minutes, and 10 seconds, breaking the 45-49 American age group record. [Twitter]

  • Most NFL analysts believe the Washington NFL team will select Chase Young, regarded as a can’t-miss defensive prospect, with the No. 2 overall pick in April’s NFL Draft. ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. has other ideas, suggesting that the team should pick quarterback Tua Tagovailoa instead. (Reminder: The team drafted quarterback Dwayne Haskins Jr. with the 15th pick last year.) [Post]

  • Braden Holtby made 37 saves as the Caps beat the Minnesota Wild in a back-and-forth game, 4-3. [Japers’ Rink]

CITY LIGHTS, by Emma Sarappo (Love this section? Get the full To Do This Week newsletter here. Tips? esarappo@washingtoncitypaper.com)

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