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Mayor Reed, Transportation Secretary LaHood Launch Atlanta Streetcar Construction

Post Date:02/01/2012
Mayor Kasim Reed press release header


 Mayor’s Office of Communications
55 Trinity Avenue, Suite 2500 • Atlanta, Georgia 30303

Sonji Jacobs, Director 
404-330-6558, office 
404-276-6866, cell
Reese McCranie, Deputy Director
404-330-6006, office
404-886-2334, cell 

Thế giới cáFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 02/01/12

News Release

Mayor Reed, Transportation Secretary LaHood Launch Atlanta Streetcar Construction 

Atlanta Streetcar, with half of project funds coming from a federal TIGER II grant, highlights President Obama’s call for greater investment in an America ‘Built to Last.’

Mayor Kasim Reed hosted U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today to kick off construction of the new 2.6-mile Atlanta Streetcar line. The project will run through the heart of Atlanta's business, tourism and convention corridor, bringing jobs and new economic development to the city.

Mayor Reed was also joined by project partners A.J. Robinson, president of the Atlanta Downtown Improvement District, and Dr. Beverly A. Scott, general manager and CEO of MARTA. Councilmember Kwanza Hall and other elected leaders also attended the event.

“Today’s 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,’” said Mayor Reed. “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.”

The Atlanta Streetcar will traverse an economically distressed area of downtown and is expected to serve as a catalyst for millions of dollars in new residential, office and retail development. It also reconnects the eastern and western sides of the city that have been divided by two interstate highways for half a century. Operated by MARTA, the streetcar line will include 12 stops with access to major attractions like the World of Coca-Cola, CNN Center, the Georgia Aquarium, the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site and the historic Auburn Avenue corridor, which is the birthplace of the Civil Rights movement. The line will also connect with MARTA’s rail and bus systems with eventual connectivity to the Atlanta BeltLine.

“President Obama called on us to rebuild America by putting people back to work on transportation projects that are built to last, like Atlanta’s modern streetcar line,” said Secretary LaHood. “All across America, there is work to be done on projects like this. 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.”

Secretary LaHood’s visit follows President Obama’s State of the Union address, in which the president called for using funds saved from winding down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to pay down the debt and fund a six-year transportation bill that would clear the way for nation-building here in the United States.

“An investment in the core of the city, in Downtown Atlanta, is good for the entire metropolitan area,” said A.J. Robinson, president of the Atlanta Downtown Improvement District. “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 Atlanta Streetcar is the first phase of what will be a city-wide and potentially region-wide alternative transportation system. The Atlanta Streetcar provides the “last mile” link from MARTA to important activity centers in the downtown. New bicycle facilities and upgraded sidewalks and pedestrian environments are all part of the Atlanta Streetcar project.

“Thanks to the leadership of President Obama, Mayor Reed and our many local partners, Atlanta’s Sweet Auburn neighborhood is about to get a whole lot sweeter,” said Atlanta City Councilmember Kwanza Hall. “This significant federal investment will serve as a catalyst for new small businesses, historic preservation and cultural tourism initiatives, and targeted new development all along the route, from downtown to the King Historic District. The Atlanta Streetcar is a powerful statement that we are ready to re-connect the neighborhood that raised Martin Luther King Jr. to the city as a whole.”

The streetcar project also heeds President Obama’s call for a new era for American energy, fueled by homegrown and alternative energy sources. Because the streetcar will be powered by electricity, it will produce zero emissions.

"President Barack Obama and Secretary Ray LaHood are truly realizing the vision for transit in this country,” said Dr. Beverly A. Scott general manager and CEO of MARTA. “Thanks to their unwavering commitment to building a better way through transit investment, we are experiencing increased economic growth, a cleaner, greener environment and an overall improved quality of life for our citizens."

Secretary LaHood traveled to Atlanta in October 2010 to announce $47.6 million for the streetcar project through the Transportation Department’s second round of TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) grants. It was the largest of the capital TIGER II grants awarded in 2010. The project is a cooperative effort by the City of Atlanta, the Atlanta Downtown Improvement District (ADID) and MARTA. The City and ADID funded the balance of the project.


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