The last time a streetcar ran in D.C. was 1962, but on Wednesday, city officials welcomed them back.
Three streetcars are being delivered to the city this week for testing. Standing at 66 feet long and eight feet wide, each streetcar can fit 157 people—more than a standard Metro rail car.
And to drum up ridership, fares could be free for a while.
"Frankly, from an economic development perspective, it might not even be a bad idea to have some of these free to get people to come and see," said Gray. "The idea of getting on here and riding this thing, I think it's going to have tremendous interest value."
Gray says the streetcar system in Portland, OR, started with free fares and the city has reaped billions in economic development.
Officials are envisioning a 37-mile streetcar network crisscrossing the District, though it will take decades to fully construct it.
Over the next two months, D.C. will hire eight people to manage operations and maintenance of the streetcars; they will be moved to the H Street tracks in the fall ahead of the start of formal passenger service in late 2013.