State withdraws threat to shut down Atlanta streetcar

The Georgia Department of Transportation has backed away from its threat to shut down Atlanta’s trouble streetcar.

In a letter to the city Tuesday, GDOT Commissioner Russell McMurry said the agency will continue reviewing Atlanta’s plans to fix dozens of problems outlined in recent audits. But he said GDOT is satisfied with the city’s recent progress.

“We no longer anticipate issuing a cease operations order,” McMurry wrote to Atlanta officials. “However, it should be understood that additional clarification or content from the (streetcar) team may be required for full compliance.”

Mayor Kasim Reed issued a statement saying he is pleased with the decision.

“I look forward to building upon our positive relationship with GDOT, as we share in our strong commitment to offering safe, convenient and best-in-class transportation opportunities for Atlanta’s residents and visitors,” the mayor said.

Recent GDOT and Federal Transportation Administration audits cited 60 safety and other concerns with the streetcar. The problems included poor maintenance procedures, inadequate staffing and improper accident investigations.

Last month, McMurry threatened to close down the streetcar, citing the city's failure to "provide timely, substantive and compliant responses" to the agency's concerns.

Atlanta has now submitted thousands of pages of documents detailing how it will respond to those concerns. It turned in its final batch on Monday.

In Tuesday’s letter, McMurry indicated GDOT will continue reviewing those plans until July 15. The agency also plans a meeting with streetcar officials for an initial discussion next week.