The view from 20 M Street SE. (Lydia DePillis)

About a month and a half ago, advocates of the bag tax were incensed to learn that Mayor Adrian Fenty‘s budget diverted a couple million dollars from the revenue it generated—originally intended to clean up the Anacostia—into street sweeping, which the city argued was just another way of protecting the river. A national conservative foundation even started using the move to campaign against other bag tax initiatives around the country.

Amid much talk of the cleanup plan at the Capitol Riverfront BID’s Anacostia Business Summit yesterday, there was no mention of the raid on the fund. Why? Charles Allen, chief of staff to bag tax champion Tommy Wells, confirms that the money was put back in the Anacostia cleanup fund in the flurry of committee activity last week. Though the Council has yet to vote on the final budget, he says, “from an initial standpoint, the funds have been restored.” 

Wells was on hand at the summit to cheer his accomplishment—so much so that politicians around the country were calling him to ask how he did it without being ridden out on a rail. “It has been quite a bit more sire successful than we anticipated,” Wells told an audience of government, environmentalist, and developer types. “Now the other officials are saying alright, you’re still in office, now we can look at this.”

The event also served to show off 20 M Street, which still has at least two floors worth of office space totally empty, not to mention ground floor retail. From the tenth floor, attendees got a view of Akridge’s still-fallow Half Street project, plus an underground parking garage being constructed off to the left.