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Rail News: Passenger Rail

Atlanta initiates streetcar service

Atlanta officials officially launched the city's new electric streetcar at a Dec. 30 grand-opening ceremony.

Mayor Kasim Reed and Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) officials spoke about the streetcar system's potential appeal to the city's younger population as well as economic developers, according to news reports on the celebration.

"These projects are for the future, and when you look around, the cities who we're competing with around this nation and around the world, they've made investments in public transportation," MARTA Chief Executive Officer Keith Parker told The New York Times.

At least initially, MARTA is responsible for operating the system. The service will follow a 2.7-mile loop around downtown Atlanta. Riders will be able to use the service at no charge for the next three months.

The long-awaited opening of the $98 million streetcar system had experienced a number of delays. Originally, the line was slated to open in May 2013.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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