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State Senator: Metro funding is a ‘prerequisite’ for Potomac Yard plans

The Potomac Yard Metro station (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

With WMATA announcing potentially drastic cuts to the Metro system, some Alexandria leaders are saying the Potomac Yard arena announcement can be leveraged to get Virginia to pony up more support.

In case you’ve been living under a rock, last week Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin took to the stage with local leaders and Washington Capitals and Wizards owner Ted Leonsis to announce plans to build a new arena in Potomac Yard.

State Sen. Adam Ebbin said on Twitter that the Potomac Yard plans are contingent on funding the Metro, which previously said the Potomac Yard Metro station was on the chopping block if WMATA can’t close it’s $750 million budget gap.

“Metro money is a PREREQUISITE for ANY serious consideration of the governor’s proposal,” Ebbin wrote.

Mayor Justin Wilson and City Council member Kirk McPike noted at the meeting that the Potomac Yard Metro station is integral to Potomac Yard plans, especially with the city pushing to minimize the amount of parking at the site.

At the same time, however, Wilson acknowledged that the Metro station is currently inadequate to handle arena traffic.

“There’s no way the current station can accommodate this use as is,” Wilson said. “A significant chunk of transportation investments will require improvements to the station.”

Wilson said the Metro station, which opened earlier this year, will need upgrades. Metro GM Randy Clarke confirmed that not only is the Potomac Yard station not up to handling arena traffic, but said no one contacted Metro before the Potomac Yard announcement.

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