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Atlanta Streetcar project gets green light from feds

Maria Saporta

By Maria Saporta

Atlanta Wins!

At long last, Atlanta will get a streetcar thanks to persistent efforts to go after federal funding.

U.S. Rep. John Lewis’ office has just sent out the following press release:

U.S. Representative John Lewis Elated Over Funding for
Atlanta Streetcar Construction

Atlanta, GA – Congressman John Lewis, 5th Congressional District Georgia, is pleased to announce the funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) of more than $47 million to construct the Georgia Transit Connector; Atlanta Streetcar Project designed to provide a transportation link for the downtown Atlanta area.

This grant is the direct result of countless meetings, conference calls, and written correspondence between U.S. Rep. John Lewis and Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, in close coordination with Mayor Kasim Reed and the City of Atlanta. In a letter sent to Secretary LaHood in August of this year, Rep. Lewis expressed his strong support for the Georgia Transit Connector Project citing such benefits as providing much-needed services connecting the Auburn Historic District to downtown Atlanta and MARTA.

“I’d like to thank my good friend and former colleague Secretary Ray LaHood for his continued support in this effort. In my conversation with Secretary LaHood this morning he reiterated his belief that it was a good and necessary project and one that deserved federal funding. Not only does this project offer citizens and visitors to the downtown area another option for transportation, it will also provide green jobs and support economic development,” stated Congressman Lewis.

Located in the heart of Downtown Atlanta, the Georgia Transit Connector Project which will run a span of approximately 2.6 miles will connect Peachtree Street with Sweet Auburn Avenue shuttling more than 4.7 million tourists each year and a large mass of local residents through the area.

Currently, Congressman John Lewis is working with Secretary LaHood as well as local representatives for a joint official announcement next week.

Maria Saporta
Maria Saporta

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.

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9 Comments

  1. Avatar
    Mike October 15, 2010 1:33 pm

    FINALLY!! Some good news!

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  2. Avatar
    James R. Oxendine October 15, 2010 2:10 pm

    Congratulations to all of the people who put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into bringing this much needed project to our city.

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  3. Avatar
    Big Sam October 15, 2010 3:46 pm

    It’s about time!

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    Transportation Planner October 15, 2010 6:02 pm

    Yes- thank you planning team (MARTA, City of Atlanta and Private firms) for putting together a solid and convincing proposal. Nice job!

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    shirley October 15, 2010 9:45 pm

    Eureka! Great work by the Atlanta team. The Mayor picked up the baton, ran with it and Atlanta won. Terrific news for all of us.

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  6. Avatar
    a transit fan October 17, 2010 11:55 am

    A caution to the transit advocates inclined to rejoice for this “transit win:” the streetcar plan should give you cause for concern. Consider the possibility that the primary goal at the root of this effort may not be what you presume and that that goal does not align with how we would measure success. Transit that falls short of expectations is an albatross on funding new transit (as we know all too well).

    This expenditure can provide leverage for a streetcar that goes up and down Peachtree, or it could beget a broader streetcar network. The TIGER II award means that the opportunity window for advocates to influence operatives is nearly closed.

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    Burroughston Brtoch October 19, 2010 9:54 pm

    According to the grant proposal, the streetcar will add 460 positions to MARTA’s payroll. The streetcar revenue will not support these positions. Be ready for more MARTA position and route cuts.

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  8. Avatar
    Michael Hadden October 23, 2010 12:20 pm

    Where did the estimate of 4.7 million annual riders come from? I hate to be a pessimist here but almost 13,000 riders a day seems a bit too optimistic. I guess we’ll see.

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