On Sunday, Washington’s top transportation official, Leif Dormsjo, told the Post that the oft-delayed and much-maligned D.C. Streetcar project was on track to be opened by the end of the year. His declaration, like so many before it, was met with well-rehearsed derision by local commentators. But early this morning, a haggard Dormsjo, his opaque Scandinavian eyes completely bloodshot, strode into a press conference, put out his cigarette in an ashtray overflowing with butts, loosened his tie, and announced that the Streetcar would be done at the end of the day today, “just in time for the Tuesday evening commute.” Dormsjo added that he has nothing else on his to-do list today and plans to take lunch at his desk this afternoon to ensure everything is on schedule with the 2.2 mile line.
At this, a reporter shouted: “You said that yesterday!” To which Dormsjo ran his fingers through his thinning blond hair, wiped his brow, and responded: “I had anticipated finishing yesterday, but I had to get the doors to stop scraping against the platforms. That took longer than I expected. But I assure you, the Streetcar will open by C.O.B. Maybe earlier.”
When one of the know-it-alls at the Washington City Paper asked about the requirement that the Streetcar’s safety certifications and operating procedures be approved by the State Safety Oversight Office, Dormsjo closed his eyes, placed his thumb and pointer finger on the bridge of his nose, and uttered: “They’re going to get to it around 2—3 at the latest.”
Dormsjo, a former top Maryland Department of Transportation official, was hired by D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser in part for his much needed transit expertise after years in which the city’s effort to build and run a rail line was hampered by a shortage of people who wanted to build and run a rail line. Pedestrian safety concerns and technical flaws have caused numerous delays and new deadlines, and as many excuses. Mayor Bowser went so far as to blame synthetic marijuana for the Streetcar’s lack of progress earlier this year. City officials have long maintained that, once finished, the Streetcar will boost the local economy by allowing residents to travel along H Street faster than if they just walked.
When asked by a plucky young DCist reporter what would happen if the Streetcar wasn’t finished by the end of the day today, as promised, Dormsjo said “I’m sorry, but I’m not in the business of hypotheticals. Now if you’ll excuse me, this Streetcar isn’t going to open…” Dormsjo then wheezed and finished by saying “itself.”
At press time, a jittery Dormsjo was reportedly shaking his computer and shouting “c’mon.”