Sometimes change can come when you least expect it… like when you’ve just moaned about the lack of it… as I did in my post earlier today, “The Significance Of A Big Tunnel.”
I had written, “Georgia’s Libertarians and republicans, for example, have fought Atlanta’s progressive efforts to build a simple streetcar system on city streets and …”
Then within an hour, I received a message from my Congressman, John Lewis (whom I also posted about in, “Snatching defeat From The Jaws Of Victory) announcing:
Atlanta Streetcar… We did it!! US Representative John Lewis announced today, that the US Department of Transportation has agreed to grant $47 million in funding for the proposed Downtown streetcar project.
The streetcar line will run from Centennial Olympic Park and the Auburn historic district along Edgewood and Auburn avenues to the (Martin Luther) King Center. Improving transit access along that route dramatically helps downtown tourism and offers an important connection to the planned light-rail “Beltline.”
Atlanta Mayor Reed also announced the Atlanta City Council has set aside $10 million to help fund the project cost. Central Atlanta Progress, a private civic-business foundation, will provide another $10 million. If necessary, Mayor Reed said, the rest of the funding could be secured by drawing $6 million to $8 million from the city’s $50 million in reserves. Of course, the State of Georgia… nowhere to be seen.
Atlanta has committed to completing the project within 24 months, a federal requirement to qualify for the STIMULUS GRANT.
The streetcar line will create more than 2,000 permanent jobs — STIMULUS works (!). City officials are still working to determine the number of construction jobs that will result from the project.
A lot of people have worked diligently for more than eight years to make this concept turn into reality. Congratulations!