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Pondering the prospects of a Peachtree streetcar for Atlanta

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Could much-traveled route change game for beleaguered project?

Recent commentary regarding the Atlanta Streetcar’s continued troubles has raised questions about how dollars from two upcoming transportation sales tax referendums could remedy the project’s rocky start — and possibly usher it to a bright future of heavy ridership.

Namely, asks the writer of a recent op/ed piece on Saporta Report: Why on earth aren’t there plans to earmark dollars in either referendum to add a Peachtree streetcar?

If approved, the current plan for MARTA and City of Atlanta referendums includes raining hundreds of millions of dollars a year on expanded streetcar or light rail lines, improved bus services, new multi-use trails, and road upgrades.

Years ago, Atlanta's initial plan involved having a streetcar line specifically for the stretch of much-traveled road from downtown to Buckhead. (The plan even had slick TV commercials at one point). But, due to a lack of federal funding (and that Godzilla of economic malaise known as the Great Recession), the city only got as far as building the east-west loop.

Seeing as how one of the biggest complaints about the Atlanta Streetcar is its lack of riders, what gives? — asks the op/ed writer, Maria Saporta.

The beleaguered streetcar’s problems over the past year or so are legion. The project has experienced everything from state agency slaps on the wrist to the aforementioned denial of federal funding.

Could the addition of another line on a more peopled stretch of road in fact trigger a sea change for the Atlanta Streetcar? Perhaps we'll never know.