Atlanta — Streetcar Plan Expanded
Rail Transit Online, November 2004
A proposal to build an eight-mile (12.9 km) streetcar line along Peachtree
Street from downtown Atlanta to Buckhead is still in the conceptual stage but
consultants involved with a $425,000 feasibility study have already suggested
expanding the route with a 3.5-mi. (5.6 km) loop around downtown and a northern
extension of more than six miles (9.6 km). The loop would travel east to the
Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial and west to the Georgia Dome, also serving the
new aquarium and providing about a quarter of the streetcar’s daily ridership.
The project is being pursued by Atlanta Streetcar Inc., a private nonprofit
organization which is paying for the study by HDR Inc. (see RTOL, Feb. 2004).
The group was organized by influential members of the business community such as
Home Depot founder Bernie Marcus. The latest estimate shows the capital cost
would be at least $324 million, and no funding sources have yet been
identified. But the study also projects the trolleys would generate more than
$4 billion in new investment, which would be a plus if federal funding is to be
sought. Atlanta Streetcar officials say they hope to build the line with a
minimum of public money.