The Rest of That Glorified Sidewalk Story

Teri told you about the glowing prospects for the BeltLine and its economic impact on the city of Atlanta and the state.

That’s the shot. Now comes the chaser, courtesy of

Of course the project wouldn’t be complete unless the “glorified sidewalk”—as the Times called the Atlanta BeltLine project—was somehow connected to the failing streetcar system. The city’s budget for the Beltline project calls for $3 million in spending this year to design a 1.5 mile extension of the existing streetcar line. If it gets built, the extension is likely to cost $62 million.

“Some people made a lot of money building the $200 million streetcar line. They no doubt are eager to make more building other lines,” says Randal O’Toole, a transportation analyst for the libertarian Cato Institute. “But streetcars serve no viable transportation purpose except to spend money.”

The city claims the streetcar has generated $1.5 billion in economic activity, but an investigation by the Journal-Constitution found that many of those claimed benefits come from building projects that were already happening before the streetcar was approved.

Of course, the libertarian leaning Reason isn’t the only one to pan the Streetcar. But I imagine there could have been a heck a lot of of Uber fares paid for with the money used to build it.


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