2/14: Streetcars worth the investment?

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

Ground has been broken on construction of a new streetcar line in downtown Atlanta. The federal government is funding about half the cost, which the city estimates at $84.7 million.

Critics point to expensive subsidies needed to build and run streetcars, while supporters I spoke with claim the economic runoff in jobs and infrastructure is well worth the investment.

What do you think?

34 comments Add your comment


February 14th, 2012
11:59 am

Can you say: Fanplex or Underground Atlanta or Five Points MARTA station? Need I say more about the future of a trolley?


February 14th, 2012
11:50 am

MLK would have wanted this money to go towards education of children, not wasted on government graft.


February 14th, 2012
11:38 am

Dear fellow Georgians: This project will make your utilities bills rise as Reed forced the utilities to eat the costs of the street car project. Stealth taxation thru utitlies is why our rates are so high.

Grob Hahn

February 14th, 2012
11:34 am

Visit Houston if you want to see how a street car system really works. What they installed actually goes to places where people work and connects two major city centers. It’s a little precarious where it has to interface with automotive traffic, as anyone would expect, but it’s actually useful. However, it doesn’t pay for itself and neither will this ornamental white elephant that Atlanta plans to build on top of the crumbling infrastructure. It would probably be cheaper to simply form a limousine train so that the massive throngs of visitors to the King center etc. can ride in style. I’m also very curious to see how this will be impacted by the crime that the city chooses to ignore in Atlanta. “Tourists” don’t like to be harrassed and robbed any more than locals.


February 14th, 2012
11:18 am

Total WASTE of $$$. Just like in Buckhead where some genius want to put plants BUT never thought that folks had to turn into buildings, etc. SO that project was totally torn up this past
fall and it cost the city 3 million BOTH times. Building and tearing down.


February 14th, 2012
11:04 am

total waste of money. transportation needs a major overhaul in atlanta and a streetcar is not the solution.


February 14th, 2012
10:59 am

Typical. A waste of $85 million.

New Atlanta Taxes

February 14th, 2012
10:46 am

Who pays the operating and maintenance costs for the next 40 years? Where was the referendum?

Atlanta Sales tax is going up 1% in July with the TSPLOST/TIA Tax and this trolley will cause another sales tax increase on top of that.

Shoppers will go to stores outside Atlanta to avoid our high sales taxes.


February 14th, 2012
9:22 am

Dumb and Dumber @ 8:02 am: 40+ million FEDERAL tax dollars are going in to this. If the city could have propped it up on its own merit without having to use the King Center as the hook (Federal Gov’t can pass up giving money to something involved with MLK) then maybe it’d be worth it. Does anyone actually believe that this won’t cost anything less that 100 million?

Common Sense

February 14th, 2012
9:19 am

If mass transit lines were indeed efficient, do you really think DisneyWorld would have halted their lines between the parks? They have massive crowds. They control all new roads and traffic.

And still, it was smarter for them to use buses.

Have you ever considered that the real problem in Atlanta is that the bus lines are not laid out properly? I bet if UPS spent 2 months analyzing the routes, we could have massive improvements in place within a year. Instead, we will spend millions to run empty buses where people do not go, and fail to have enough buses and rail cars on the line for major events, and wonder why it’s not working.