State threatens to shut down Atlanta streetcar
State regulators have threatened to shut down Atlanta’s troubled streetcar unless the city resolves a slew of problems outlined in recent audits.
In a letter to Mayor Kasim Reed and MARTA CEO Keith Parker on Monday, the Georgia Department of Transportation gave the city until June 14 to submit plans to address 60 outstanding problems outlined in the reports. If those plans are not sufficient, GDOT said, it will order the streetcar to shut down immediately.
The city and MARTA share responsibility for the $98 million system that runs in downtown Atlanta. State and federal law requires GDOT to oversee the safety and security of rail operations like the streetcar, GDOT Commissioner Russell McMurry said.
The problems with the streetcar include poor maintenance procedures, inadequate staffing and a failure to properly investigate accidents.
A MARTA spokesman referred comment to the mayor’s office. Reed spokeswoman Jenna Garland released a statement that said Atlanta has “worked diligently and cooperatively with state and federal regulators to provide the best possible service and experience for Atlanta Streetcar riders.”
“The city is committed to operating the Atlanta Streetcar safely and effectively,” Garland said. “We take GDOT’s feedback seriously and will continue to make every effort to work with the agency to address all action items by the date requested.”