ATLANTA — Local and federal officials this week kicked off construction on a 2.62-mile streetcar line officials contend is the start of a citywide and regional alternative transportation network.
“An investment in the core of the city, in Downtown Atlanta, is good for the entire metropolitan area,” A.J. Robinson, president of the Atlanta Downtown Improvement District, said in a news release. “The Atlanta Streetcar project will keep the City of Atlanta competitive with other cities by improving our transit connectivity, boosting our tourism industry, helping local businesses and building a more sustainable future.”
The 2.62-mile streetcar line will connect Peachtree Street and Sweet Auburn Avenue, and a one-way trip is expected to take 10 minutes. The streetcar will connect with MARTA, the grant's recipient.
“All across America, there is work to be done on projects like this,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, who attended the event, said in a news release. Now is the time to connect people who need work with the work we need to do to improve our nation's transit centers, highways, railways, airports and ports.”
The initial system will have 12 stops and four electric streetcars.
The “launch of the Atlanta Streetcar project is the first step in a project that will transform our downtown corridor, and it reflects President Obama's blueprint for an America that's 'built to last,'” Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said in a statement. “I am grateful for the support of the Obama Administration and Secretary LaHood for the TIGER II grant, which stands as the largest single federal allocation awarded to the City of Atlanta for transportation outside of Hartsfield-Jackson Airport and MARTA in more than a decade.”