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Mayor Bowser Calls on DC Council to Pass a Budget that Supports DC’s Comeback

Monday, May 1, 2023
The Transformation of Downtown DC into a Vibrant, Sustainable, Mixed-Use Community Is Critical to Support Investments in People and Programs Across All Eight Wards

(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser and community partners called on the DC Council to pass a budget that supports DC’s Comeback Plan, including funding the K Street Transitway – a transformational project for the future of public transportation in downtown DC. DC’s Comeback Plan includes a three-pronged approach to the transformation and revitalization of downtown: fill the space, change the space, and bring the people. The Comeback Plan recognizes downtown as our city’s economic engine that supports many of the District’s investments in people and neighborhoods across all eight wards, including investments in affordable housing, schools and recreation, and public safety. Current budget proposals put forth by the Council, including eliminating funding for the K Street Transitway and making it more expensive for people to take rideshares in and out of downtown and surrounding neighborhoods, will delay the work to bring back downtown as a vibrant, mixed-use neighborhood.
“When we’re talking about our downtown comeback, we’re not just talking about Ward 2 – we’re talking about our ability to invest in residents and programs in every single ward and every single neighborhood,” said Mayor Bowser. “The K Street Transitway has the ability to transform the way we think about and use public transportation in Washington, DC. It will makes buses faster, more reliable, and more efficient – and that is what bus riders are asking for. The budget I sent to Council is not only sustainable, but it gets us on track for a strong comeback – so that hopefully, for many years to come, we can fund bigger, better, and bolder programs. I’m asking all members of the Council to join me in supporting our comeback.” 

By creating a two-way, median-running busway in the center of K Street NW from 12th Street NW and 21st Street NW, the K Street Transitway will transform public transportation through downtown DC by making bus trips more reliable, faster, and more efficient. The transitway will also improve safety and congestion for all who travel through the corridor. The project will maintain 95% of the existing street trees along the sidewalk, add pads for future public art, and ensure wider sidewalks are available with landscaped tree boxes, benches, and bicycle racks. Funding for the K Street Transitway will also support the redesign of L Street NW to include a two-way protected bike lane as it currently only has a one-way protected bike lane. The redesign will create greater safety, access, and mobility for bike riders downtown. 

“DDOT has completed historic projects that built better bridges, safer roads, protected bike lanes, transit projects, all with the goal of making Washington DC the most livable city in the country,” said DDOT Director Everett Lott. “Our goal is to deliver a transportation project that will change the city for the better, and the K Street Transitway Project does that.” 

Today, which also marks 15 years since the District ended the taxi zone system, the Mayor also pushed back on a Council proposal to add a $2 fee to rides starting and ending in downtown as well as nearby neighborhoods. The fee will make it more expensive for residents and workers who live and work in targeted neighborhoods, including downtown, to use rideshares.  

The Mayor was joined today by Ward 2 Councilmember Brooke Pinto and representatives from DC Chamber of Commerce, Downtown BID and businesses, Golden Triangle BID and businesses, RAMW, and The George Washington University. 

Below are current initiatives and proposed investments in the Mayor’s budget to achieve the goals set in DC’s Comeback Plan, which include adding 15,000 residents downtown and creating 35,000 new jobs in high-demand sectors over the next five years:

Filling the Space:

  • A $10 million Vitality Fund to attract and retain businesses in targeted sectors that make commitments to locate in DC
  • Grow Penn West Equity and Innovation District
  • Grow university and innovation activity footprint downtown
  • $1.5 million enhancement to enable the District to retain tech/innovation companies through Creative and Open Space Modernization rebate program 

Changing the Space:

  • Housing in Downtown program implementation 
  • Pennsylvania Avenue Initiative with the National Capital Planning Commission
  • Downtown public realm study and action plan
  • Downtown housing capacity analysis
  • Federal government real estate portfolio engagement 
  • K Street Transitway Project
  • Increasing Housing Downtown program from $6.8 million in FY27 to $41 million in FY28 
  • 9.8 million to design and construct an updated Farragut Square Park 

Bringing the People:

  • Tourism Recovery District to increase marketing for tourism by $20 million from FY24-27
  • $6 million DC Family Fun Destinations
  • $1.5 million Special Event Relief Fund for Local Outdoor events
  • $3 million to support large-scale non-profit events
  • $1.4 million Streets for People program to support public space activations 
  • $1.5 million Festival Fund Recovery to offset costs for community organizations hosting an event in DC

To learn more about Mayor Bowser’s FY24 Budget, visit To read the District’s Comeback Plan, visit To learn more about the K Street Transitway project and DDOT’s Bus priority network, visit  

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