Photo courtesy Atlanta Streetcar/Gene Phillips Photography
Photo courtesy Atlanta Streetcar/Gene Phillips Photography

The Atlanta Streetcar will be jointly managed by the City of Atlanta and MARTA. In the official notice to the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), the partners outlined the organizational structure, highlighting the expertise of MARTA, the technical capacity of the city’s streetcar team and the cost efficiency of the joint approach. The plan requires the approval of the Atlanta Downtown Improvement District (ADID) and MARTA Board of Directors.

In its first year, the Atlanta Streetcar is projected to cost approximately $3.9 million to operate and maintain. Projected expense costs drop to $3.5 million in years two through four. Opting for the joint City-MARTA operational approach rather than a private contractor to run the system will save in excess of $5 million in the first five years.

“The Atlanta Streetcar is a transformational project that will have a significant impact on Atlantan’s mobility and the economic vitality of the city,” said Mayor Kasim Reed. “This operational approach leverages the expertise of MARTA and the city’s growing technical capacity, which has been acknowledged through the city’s recently awarded FTA Grantee Status. I’m confident that this approach will give Atlanta the best run, safest and most cost-efficient system in the country.”

“After careful consideration of several operations and maintenance models, we determined this approach to be the most cost efficient in meeting system objectives and required technical expertise,” said ADID President A.J. Robinson. “ADID is pleased with the decision and looks forward to a successful, upcoming project launch.”

The organizational structure is based on the organization charts and the command lines of transit agencies with similar sized streetcar systems, and includes specialized technical oversight from the FTA and Georgia Department of Transportation. The Streetcar Management Committee, consisting of ADID and the City with technical advice from MARTA, will set operational policy for the system.

MARTA will oversee all management and staff for the system’s operations and maintenance functions for the first year. After that, the three project partners, with the approval of rail transit regulators, will transition operations to the city.

The city will create an Office of Transit and FTA Administration that will administer the City’s FTA grantee status and provide oversight and strategic direction for its transit operations. 

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.