What would you do with $47 million?  Buy a streetcar?  Sounds expensive, right?  But, we believe there are a ton of benefits and so does the U.S. Government.  Read more, and then let us know what you think.

Just a few weeks ago, our mayor, the honorable Kasim Reed, greeted U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site as he presented a check for $47.6 million in funding for the Atlanta Streetcar project. That’s a nice chunk of change, and the Streetcar is going to be pretty nice too, so we hear.  It promises to be a modern, ADA compliant, electrically-powered transit system that’s going to run for 2.6 miles in the heart of Atlanta’s downtown sector connecting Peachtree Street with Sweet Auburn Avenue.  Well, at least that’s the first phase of it.

The Streetcar plans for 12 stops that connect landmarks like the Aquarium, World of Coke, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site, and Sweet Auburn Avenue District. In case you didn’t know or hadn’t guessed, the Streetcar is the first phase of a regional transit system that includes the Atlanta BeltLine…and, ya’ll know we love our BeltLine. We’re getting on board with this too, because we feel like it’s going to bring a lot of character to Atlanta and hopefully stimulate some positive, economic development in some of our harder-knock-life parts of town.

We really like that it connects people and helps develop communities.  Sure, everyone already goes to the World of Coke and the Aquarium, but many steer clear of parts of town they don’t deem as “safe” or “touristy.”  The Streetcar will change all that, connecting to wonderful, historic landmarks, such as the MLK Jr. Site which some folks may not have visited before.  We think it’s going to do a lot of transforming for some of the blighted areas up and down Auburn Ave. and probably lead to more development for Georgia State, which has been extremely beneficial to downtown thus far.

The Streetcar is expected to begin service in 2013 and we can’t wait to get on board.  Oops, we already used that one.  It’s just too easy.

Let us know your thoughts: is the Streetcar worth it?

Rendering courtesy of GeorgiaTransitConnector.com.

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