Arlington Adopts $277.5 Million One-Year Capital Improvement Plan

Published on July 21, 2020

The Arlington County Board today voted unanimously to adopt a scaled-down $277.5 million one-year Capital Improvement Plan that focuses on continuing or completing projects already underway and beginning a 10-year program to improve the County's stormwater infrastructure and flood resiliency.

The largest new investment in the plan is $14.6 million to launch what is expected to be a 10-year, $189 million investment in the County's stormwater management infrastructure to better handle the impact of intensifying climate change and continued population growth.

"With the pandemic still raging in much of our nation, Arlington must take a cautious approach to long-term infrastructure and facility investment," Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey said. "This one-year CIP gives us time to better assess the impact of this unprecedented public health and economic emergency on our finances, as well as any changes we may need to make in our facilities to mitigate the spread of the virus.

"The time also allows us to better gauge how quickly we might expect to recover financially, while still allowing us to make critical investments in stormwater infrastructure and put a body-worn camera program in place for our police, sheriffs and fire marshals," Garvey said.

Arlington normally works on a 10-year CIP cycle, with updates every two years. But in May, as he presented his Proposed CIP to the Board, County Manager Mark Schwartz said that the financial uncertainty caused by the pandemic had already led him to slow or postpone $8 million in capital projects as part of the Adopted FY 2021 Budget, and that he anticipated "our future facility and infrastructure needs will likely change post-COVID."

The adopted CIP includes just $66.4 million in new funding for FY 2021. The rest of the proposed funding was included in previously adopted 10-year CIPs.

Projects already underway that the County will continue or complete in 2021 include Jennie Dean Park, the Lubber Run Community Center, Fire Station 8, the Long Bridge Aquatics and Fitness Center, the Columbia Pike Multimodal Street Improvements and the Columbia Pike Transit Stations.

The County will continue to meet Metro and regional obligations; near-term Arlington Public School needs; life-safety, regulatory or legal commitments; and continue to repair, maintain or replace failing or critical infrastructure, including two park pedestrian bridges destroyed in the July 2019 flooding. The County also will make technology and facilities investments needed to cope with the pandemic.

The Manager has said he plans to bring a three-to-four-year Proposed CIP to the Board and the community in spring 2021, once the County has a clearer picture of recovery from the pandemic.

Development of the CIP was informed by comments from the public and commissions, and by work sessions that the Board held with the School Board and with the County Manager. The Board also held a public hearing on the proposed CIP.

To learn more about the FY 2021 Proposed CIP, visit the County website.

Bond referenda approved for November 2020 ballot

In a related action, the Board unanimously approved bond referenda totaling $144.454 million to be put before the voters on the November ballot for projects adopted by the County and Schools in their Capital Improvement Plan. The referenda include:

  • $29.94 million for Metro and Transportation

  • $3.630 million for Local Parks and Recreation

  • $7.485 million for Community Infrastructure

  • $52.650 for Arlington Public Schools

  • $50.840 for Stormwater

If approved by voters, the Metro and Transportation bonds would fund Metro capital improvements, paving, and bridge maintenance, renovation, and replacement. The Parks and Recreation bond would fund parks maintenance capital, a Rosslyn Highlands Park project, and trail and bridge modernization. The Community Infrastructure bond would fund facilities maintenance capital, fire station renovations, and capital improvements at the County's Courthouse complex.

The Schools bond would fund school maintenance capital projects; design funding to meet 10-year seat needs; building refresh and kitchen renovations at Arlington Traditional School, Key Elementary School, and McKinley Elementary School; Williamsburg Middle School and Wakefield High School.

The Stormwater bonds would fund stormwater capacity improvements, water quality improvements, and maintenance capital projects. They will be issued over several years based on project needs. For details, visit the County website. For more details on the stormwater program and projects, see the CIP documents on the County and school websites. You can find the summary of County projects in the 2020 bond referenda in the Appendix of the County's Adopted FY 2021 CIP, which will be posted on the County's website by September 2020.

To read the staff report on the bond referenda, visit the County website. Scroll to Item 61b on the agenda for the Tues., July 21, 2020, Recessed County Board Meeting.