The Columbia Pike line is estimated to cost $358 million, including a 20 percent contingency; the Crystal City segment will bring the total to $585 million, including the contingency. By comparison, the District is spending $663 million to replace the Frederick Douglass Bridge, which carries 77,000 vehicles per day; that’s more than the streetcar’s cost just to replace one short piece of the road system. Phase 1 of the Silver Line has cost more than eight times as much as the Columbia Pike streetcar to move just 2.3 times as many people – and that very worthwhile investment is setting up parts of Fairfax and Loudoun counties for the future. In comparison with other projects, a streetcar on Columbia Pike is a thrifty proposition. But that hadn’t stopped it from being a political punching bag for some who simply attack the price tag without context. News coverage that reports only the cost without discussing benefits does not help, either.