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D.C.'s Streetcars Have International Pedigree

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By David Schultz

Most American cities stopped running streetcars 50 years ago, so American companies stopped making them. That's why D.C. had to go to the Czech Republic.

"The Czechs actually are the premiere builders of streetcars," says Gabe Klein, the director of D.C.'s Department of Transportation. "Over in Europe, the streetcar didn't die. The Europeans didn't completely give over to the automobile. They had a more balanced approach. And so because of that you still have manufacturers over there."

Each street car costs $3 million. And Czech diplomat Daniel Kostoval says this was an important deal for his country.

"Of course it's a big achievement of this Czech company," says Kostoval, "because they were actually able to make a contact with the city of Washington D.C."

The Czech streetcars will actually hit the streets in early 2012.

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