The New Year symbolizes many things for many people. It’s filled with planning, predictions and often a few New Year’s resolutions. But perhaps above all, a New Year represents hope, new opportunities, growth and new beginnings.
As 2014 came to a close and 2015 was about to dawn, a “new beginning” was emerging for the City of Atlanta with the much anticipated launch of the Atlanta Streetcar. Thanks to a collaboration of key partners including Central Atlanta Progress and MARTA with help from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s TIGER grant, the Atlanta Streetcar became a reality.
On December 30, under Mayor Kasim Reed’s leadership, the first line of the Atlanta Streetcar rolled into the New Year, bringing with it a new era of transit for the city. On opening day, I had the privilege of joining Mayor Reed on the inaugural ride, as residents and community leaders came together to welcome the Atlanta Streetcar.
The American-made streetcars answer a desperate need for access to local goods and services while reducing dependency on cars, and revitalizing a community that has long been divided by two interstate highways for half a century. In fact, the Atlanta Streetcars are already bringing residents to areas of the city once divided by the interstate, including Downtown Atlanta’s tourist attractions and venues, fueling economic development.
I’m proud that my home city is taking steps toward modernization and economic growth with streetcars assembled at our rail manufacturing headquarters in Sacramento, Calif. The streetcars include components from our Norwood, Ohio facility and, best of all, they are powered by systems that are manufactured right up the road in Alpharetta, Ga.
There are more than 3,000 Siemens employees living and working in the metro Atlanta area, and a Siemens team in Alpharetta, just 25 miles north of downtown, was responsible for building a critical component of the streetcars’ propulsion system.
I look forward to continuing to witness Atlanta’s growth as Siemens works with the City of Atlanta, Central Atlanta Progress and MARTA on Atlanta’s track to future infrastructure developments and economic benefits. The 2015 launch of the Atlanta Streetcar line is a symbol of new beginnings for Atlanta, and I hope that residents and visitors from around the world will enjoy it for many years to come.