City Desk

The Needle: Unclean Water Edition

Doors Closing: Anyone who's ridden Metro in the last decade or so knows there's some urgent need for more regular maintenance on the system. Now it turns out there's approximately $850 million of it needed. That's how much transit officials say they want to spend next year—not on adding new service or expanding existing lines, but on refurbishing and replacing the broken pieces of the system. Which makes the promised $150 million for capital improvements Congress no longer wants to send Metro's way even more important; if you spot any lawmakers riding the subway, tell 'em to pony up. -1

Jobs R Us: In today's batch of fodder for conspiracy theorists certain the White House is going red, a new survey shows college kids want to work for the federal government. According to research by Universum, a consulting firm, six of the top ten most favorable jobs for liberal arts grads are federal agencies (the State Department comes in highest, at #2). Even among business students, the Treasury Department ranks in the top 20, which probably says more about the administration's embrace of Wall Street than about its embrace of Marx. The good news: More potential D.C. residents for the 2020 Census to count! The bad news: More 22-year-olds. +2

What's That Smell?: Yes, your water smells (and maybe tastes) kind of funny. No, it doesn't mean you're dying. Every spring, the powers-that-be responsible for ensuring you get enough lead in your drinking water—er, rather, maintaining D.C.'s water supply—switch the disinfectant used from chloramine to chlorine. The chlorine rinse will last until May 2. If things still seem weird after that, then, yes, you may be dying. -1

Choose Your Own Budget Adventure: Got suggestions for how to write the District's next budget? No need to keep them to yourself—go fill out D.C.'s new survey on budget priorities, and you can share them directly with Mayor Vince Gray (or at least with whichever underling is in charge of culling the responses from the Google Docs spreadsheet they're collected in). The main focus of the survey seems to be whether or not the city should raise taxes. We suggest you tell Gray to raise taxes on anyone making more money than you do. +1

Friday's Needle rating: 66 Today's score: +1 Today's Needle rating: 67

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