City Seeks Expansion Funding
NPR Station WABE in Atlanta reports that the city of Atlanta is exploring the possibility of seeking federal funds to help expand its starter downtown modern streetcar line. Normally, Federal transit funding is available only to transit agencies such as MARTA. However, as is happening in many cities, streetcar planning is being directed by another entity, in this case the City of Atlanta.
To support its lead role in planning, the city recently applied to the Federal Transit Administration to be named a grant designee, meaning the city can apply for the funds itself. This designation does not mean any additional funding will be available, but does simplify the process of applying.
Planners envision exending the line east and west from the currently under-construction route, ultimately connecting to the Beltline light rail being planned to circle the city.
MARTA Won't Operate Streetcar
WABE also reports that the City will not select MARTA as the operator of the new streetcar ine, due to higher costs including an expensive insurance policy.
Consequently, the City put the operating contract out to bid and will be selecting a contractor in the coming weeks.
MARTA has been an active participant in the streetcar project, playing a major role in design and engineering and also as a conduit for Federal funding. Recently they have been involved in reviewing the bids for an operating contractor.