Atlanta submits streetcar plans ahead of schedule as shutdown looms

The City of Atlanta submitted plans to fix a slew of problems with its troubled streetcar on Monday – a day ahead of a state-imposed deadline.

But it remains unclear whether those plans will pass muster with the Georgia Department of Transportation, which has threatened to shut down the streetcar over safety concerns. A GDOT spokeswoman said the agency had received Atlanta’s plans but was still reviewing them.

Earlier this month the city gave GDOT more than 2,500 pages of plans to fix 41 safety and other concerns raised in recent audits. The agency gave Atlanta until Tuesday to submit plans for another 19 issues.

Atlanta delivered those plans on Monday.

“It remains the Atlanta streetcar’s commitment to operate a safe streetcar system that is in full compliance with federal and state requirements,” city officials wrote in a letter accompanying the plans submitted Monday.

GDOT and the Federal Transportation Administration have been sounding the alarm about the $98 million streetcar for months. The problems range from poor maintenance procedures and inadequate staffing to a failure to properly investigate accidents.

Last month GDOT's McMurry expressed the agency's displeasure at Atlanta's response, saying the city had failed to "provide timely, substantive and compliant responses to deficiencies" identified by auditors. He threatened to shut down the streetcar unless the city submitted adequate plans to address the problems.

Atlanta officials have repeatedly said the streetcar is safe. On Monday, Mayor Kasim Reed said the streetcar will be a long-term benefit for the city.