Meet the man in charge of the El Paso streetcar project

Carl Jackson is in charge of the El Paso Streetcar Project. (KFOX14/CBS4)

The man responsible for planning, inspecting and training stuff for the much anticipated streetcars says what he does is a family tradition.

Carl Jackson, assistant director of the streetcar operation with Sun Metro, says his father and grandfather worked in mass transit in other cities before he began preparing cities for streetcars.

Jackson is now in charge of bringing the streetcars back to the Sun City and he admits that at first, he was a little skeptical about the city.

"There used to be a TV show called 'The Bridge,' and anybody who’s familiar with that knows that the storyline is finding a body under a bridge between Juarez and El Paso. So I said to my wife, 'I got an offer to go to El Paso,' and she looked at me like 'Are you crazy?" Jackson said.

But once Jackson and his wife arrived in El Paso, they fell in love with it and the people.

Jackson has helped organize streetcar projects in places like Kansas City, Atlanta and Seattle.

He says the El Paso project takes him back to where he, his father and grandfather began the family business.

Jackson explained where it all began.

“I grew up in Brooklyn, New York and Brooklyn was instrumental in the development of the streetcar way back in the day. The streetcar was developed in an area in South Brooklyn that housed a number of streetcars from various lines. The building was called the Ninth Avenue Streetcar Bar. Well, of course they tore it down and my high school was built on that spot decades later,” Jackson said.

The project is almost coming to fruition. Even though the twisted metal tracks have been laid down and the streetcars are headed to the Borderland, people have to be trained to drive them.

“We’ll start with employees with the Sun Metro transit operator pool because they have already been trained in all aspects of public transit operations,” Jackson said.

The El Paso Streetcar Project will be the last mass transit gig for Jackson. He plans to retire and stay in El Paso permanently.

The streetcars should be operational next November.

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