MARTA will take over the Atlanta Streetcar next year. BOB ANDRES/BANDRES@AJC.COM

Atlanta City Council approves streetcar transfer to MARTA

The Atlanta City Council has approved plans to turn the city’s troubled streetcar line over to MARTA next year.

On Monday the council approved an ordinance authorizing Mayor Kasim Reed to transfer all Atlanta Streetcar operations, staffing, maintenance and other functions.

The $99 million streetcar opened in December 2014 amid sky-high expectations. But ridership failed to meet expectations in its first year and plummeted nearly 60 percent after the city began charging $1 to ride.

What’s more, state auditors found dozens of problems with staffing and safety and security procedures – problems that lingered even after the state threatened to shut the streetcar down last year.

Atlanta finally addressed all of the problems to the state’s satisfaction in June. Now it’s decided to get out of the streetcar business altogether.

MARTA has agreed to take over the streetcar. The agency has said it will pay for streetcar operations with proceeds from the half-penny sales tax for MARTA approved by Atlanta voters in November.

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