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WE ARE FLATTERED TO be included by Julie Wakefield among the leaders of the Canal Road insurrection against the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) (“Canal Road Warriors,” The District Line, 10/6), but that burdensome honor belongs to the beleaguered residents of the Foxhall, Palisades, and Georgetown communities.
Our appearance at the FHWA’s meeting was to question the possibility that District taxpayers would once again be dumped upon if the fears expressed in a Georgetown University internal memo in an earlier time were to become reality. The university said that Canal Road should not be the route for the gas line essential to the since-aborted power plant because the city’s ancient water pipes, built between 1860 and 1890 under Canal Road, could not withstand heavy construction. These pipes feed into the downtown water system. However, D.C. Department of Public Works Chief Larry King has allayed our fears. While the city has minimal say about Canal Road because of its federal status, the city would also not be responsible for costs for repairs or maintenance. In the event the city’s water system is damaged because of the construction for the Georgetown University Canal Road entrance, the federal government would shoulder the costs.
What a tradeoff! Georgetown University gets the entrance it needs, opening the way for access to 3.8 million square feet of proposed new construction; the District gets a whole new city water system, and all at federal taxpayers’ expense. Only kidding, folks.