ATLANTA — Atlanta’s new streetcar system will be up and running by Dec. 31, Mayor Kasim Reed told reporters on Wednesday, according to WXIA-TV.
The 2.7-mile streetcar line was to open this spring, but has been delayed by construction and a question over who precisely will operate the line: a private contractor, the city or MARTA, the region’s transportation authority, according to published reports.
“The streetcar will be running by December 31, 2014,” the news station quoted the mayor as saying. “I’ve got a very intelligent robust press. So I’m going to stick to December 2014. It will be operational before then.”
When it opens, city officials believe the streetcar 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. The new streetcar line, expected to have 12 stops and four electric streetcars, will be the first in Atlanta in more than 60 years.
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. Streetcars, once prominent fixtures on the city’s streets, last ran in Atlanta in 1949.