FEATURED:

Fed-supported Atlanta streetcar to open Dec. 30

A nearly three-mile streetcar system in Atlanta that was built in part with money from the federal government is scheduled to open on Dec. 30, the city’s mayor, Kasim Reed, announced Tuesday. 

“Proud to announce the @ATLStreetcar will open for passenger service on Tues, Dec. 30,” Reed tweeted. “Join us for the celebration. #StreetcarReady.” 

The Atlanta streetcar line, which will run from the city’s Centennial Olympic Park to its Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site, cost nearly $70 million to build. The federal government contributed about $47 million to the project through the Transportation Department’s Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant program. 

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The streetcar line has been touted by transit advocate as a first step toward shifting attitudes about public transportation in the southern U.S.

The streetcar is being opened two years after proposed transportation tax was soundly defeated by voters in the Atlanta area. 

A more recent effort to expand the city’s Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) system was more successful in the most recent election in November. 

The expansion of the MARTA system, which will connect to the streetcar at one of its current stations, to Clayton County, Ga., was approved on a 74-26 percent margin.