Atlanta — Utility Delay
The downtown urban circulator streetcar project in Atlanta is behind schedule and utility relocation difficulties are blamed, according to the Saporta Report site. Service may not begin until 2014 on the 2.6-mile, $92.7 million line.
A total of 15 utility companies have lines impacted by the streetcar route. The six to seven month delay caused by unanticipated utility relocations has increased project costs by about $5 million. The $52 million construction budget has a provision for contingencies which will cover the increased cost.
The Atlanta Streetcar is a public-private partnership between the City, the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority, and the private Central Atlanta Progress/Atlanta Downtown Improvement District. The $92.7 million project won a $47.7 million federal TIGER II grant, which allowed the project to be launched,
To meet Federal requirements that the project be "shovel-ready," the developoment team had to enter into a "design-build" contract, meaning that the project was being designed at the same time that construction work was underway.
In addition to the $47.7 million TIGER grant, the City of Atlanta has contributed $15.6 million to the project; the Atlanta Downtown Improvement District has put in $6 million for an initial net project total of $69.3 million. The remaining budget for the project includes $9 million from the City of Atlanta to purchase the streetcars; $8 million from the Department of Watershed Management for water and sewer pipe relocations; $5.1 million in a Livable Centers Initiative (LCI) grant for transit and pedestrian enhancements; and a $1.25 million LCI grant to make Luckie Street two ways.
What entity will operate the streetcar has not yet been decided. MARTA had been expected to fill that role, but plans currently call for a RFP to be issued in about six months that MARTA and other firms could bid on to win the right to run the line.