From the AJC’s Atlanta streetcar project faces scrutiny:
The project is already several months behind schedule and millions of dollars over the original budget. To avoid further delays, the three collaborators on the project — MARTA, the city of Atlanta and the Atlanta Downtown Improvement District — need to impose a clear chain of command and communicate better, said the Washington, D.C.-based consulting firm, Delon Hampton and Associates.
The consulting firm was hired to Federal Transit Administration to monitor the project, which is partly funded by federal grants.
But officials with the three parties involved said the massive undertaking is proceeding well, especially given the complexity of carving a streetcar route between Centennial Park and the King Center. They dispute allegations of discord between them.
Boosters hope the Atlanta streetcar will transform the city’s downtown corridor and boost tourism, in-town transportation and economic development.
There frankly seems no doubt that those goals will be achieved. The slightly alarmist headline in the AJC piece is belied by the fundamentals of the project, which seem solid.
The conditions of the federal grant in 2010 required groups to cooperate, which obviously heightened the level of bureaucracy. From later in the piece:
The federal grant program for the streetcar is new, and winning the money required organizations such as the city, MARTA and the downtown improvement district to work together and combine their funds in a way they never have before.
The project is designed to connect Philips Arena, the Georgia Dome, the CNN Center, the Georgia Aquarium, the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site, the Sweet Auburn Historic District, Georgia State University, Grady Memorial Hospital and other landmarks.
Here’s a map of this great project, but click for a much more detailed version:
Streetcar Map with attractions.