Wednesday, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood kicked off construction of the Atlanta Streetcar system.
The 2.6-mile line will run through the heart of Atlanta's business, tourism and convention corridor, bringing jobs and new economic development to the city.
The $94.4 million project was funded in part by a $47.6 million TIGER 2 grant from the Obama Administration.
This comes one week after President Barack Obama called for investments in transportation as part of "an America Built to Last" in his State of the Union address.
LaHood was joined at the event by Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, City Councilman Kwanza Hall, A.J. Robinson with the Atlanta Downtown Improvement Partnership, and MARTA CEO Dr. Beverly Scott.
"Today's launch of the Atlanta Streetcar project is the first step in a project that will transform our downtown corridor, and it reflects President Obama's blueprint for an America that's ‘built to last,'" said Mayor Reed. "I am grateful for the support of the Obama Administration and Secretary LaHood for the TIGER II grant, which stands as the largest single federal allocation awarded to the City of Atlanta for transportation outside of Hartsfield-Jackson Airport and MARTA in more than a decade."
Operated by MARTA, the streetcar line will include 12 stops with access to major attractions like the World of Coca-Cola, CNN Center, the Georgia Aquarium, the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site and the historic Auburn Avenue corridor, which is the birthplace of the Civil Rights movement. The line will also connect with MARTA's rail and bus systems with eventual connectivity to the Atlanta BeltLine.
"President Barack Obama and Secretary Ray LaHood are truly realizing the vision for transit in this country," said Dr. Scott. "Thanks to their unwavering commitment to building a better way through transit investment, we are experiencing increased economic growth, a cleaner, greener environment and an overall improved quality of life for our citizens."
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