ATLANTA — MARTA will not operate the new Atlanta streetcar when it begins operations next year, WABE reported.
“It’s been over the last year that we pretty much determined that the best way to go about this is using a mechanism other than MARTA,” WABE quoted Tom Weyandt, senior transportation policy adviser for Mayor Kasim Reed, as saying.
Added Weyandt: “It has to do with a whole set of cost structures…insurance that we would have to assume for a new service that MARTA could not accommodate under their existing rapid rail operation.”
When it opens, the 2.7-mile streetcar line will connect with MARTA, the city’s transit system. Future plans call for the new streetcar to tie into the Atlanta BeltLine, a public-private partnership that is building walking paths along a ring of mostly abandoned railroad right-of-ways that circle the city.
City officials believe the line, slated to begin service mid-year next year, will ferry tourists to and from many of the city’s popular downtown attractions, including Centennial Olympic Park, CNN Center, the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site and the Georgia Aquarium. A one-way trip on the new line is expected to take roughly 10 minutes.
The new streetcar line, expected to have 12 stops and four electric streetcars, will be the first in Atlanta in more than 60 years. Streetcars, once prominent fixtures on the city’s streets, last ran in Atlanta in 1949.
City officials hope the new line will be merely the initial route in a larger network.