Thursday, April 17, 2014

Atlanta mayor: Streetcar will debut this year

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Atlanta's initial modern streetcar line will open this year, though perhaps not until late December, according to Mayor Kasim Reed.

Reed, who toured the project with U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx on Wednesday, April 16, 2014, conceded that construction on the 2.7-mile line had taken longer than anticipated, but declined to speculate if completion would occur before December.

"I've got a very intelligent robust press. So I'm going to stick to [the end of] December 2014. It will be operational before then," Reed said to local media.

Streetcar supporters had hoped to see operations begin this spring, and some still hope to see revenue service begin sometime this summer.

Mayor Reed said the city is currently in talks with MARTA about partnering to run the streetcar. Original plans anticipated operations by a private contractor or other independent operator, following the lead of Portland, Ore.

The streetcar route will offer direct access to MARTA's Peachtree Center station, and also serve Centennial Olympic Park, the World of Coca-Cola, the Georgia World Congress Center, the new College Football Hall of Fame, the future National Center for Civil and Human Rights, and the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic site.

Four Siemens S70 streetcars will operate on the line.