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Sanford: Another trolley delay no big deal

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — For some, the downtown trolleys represent nostalgia.  For others, it's convenience or just a fun ride.

Either way, the rail cars were an important attraction in Memphis. That is before they were decommissioned three years ago after two trolley fires. That's when officials at Memphis Area Transit Authority discovered that maintenance on the trolleys had been sorely lacking and no one seemed to be responsible for their upkeep.

Yet, MATA officials kept assuring us that the trolleys would return by the end of the year.  Now, that has been delayed until April of 2018 because the Iowa company working to restore the trolleys discovered that three of them had extreme rotting.

At first blush, many Memphians might consider this to be another embarrassment for our local transit system that has had its share of problems over the years. But in actuality, the delay really should be no big deal.

Assuming the trolleys can indeed return to service by early April that would be just in time for an expected increase in tourists in town to observe the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The point is, the downtown trolleys have never been crucial to this city's public transportation. Instead they were a symbol of days past when downtown was bustling with commerce. Hopefully that nostalgic symbol returns safe and sound.

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