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Tempe Streetcar Named Among Future Federal Projects
PHOENIX, AZ – The Federal Transit Administration has approved Valley Metro Rail’s request to enter Project Development for Tempe Streetcar, a 2.6-mile extension of the Valley Metro system. This marks the first step in receiving federal project approval and ultimately federal funds to build the extension.
“The streetcar in downtown Tempe serves as a critical connection to the existing transit system and provides additional mobility options for a community having a high demand for transit,” said Valley Metro Rail Vice Chair and Tempe Councilmember Shana Ellis. The streetcar is currently planned to travel as a one-mile downtown loop along Mill and Ash avenues and south to Apache Boulevard. Two route modifications are being explored:
- Rio Salado Parkway west to Mill Avenue, downtown loop to Apache Boulevard, east to Rural Road
- Downtown loop to Apache Boulevard, east to Terrace Road.
With the approval of Project Development it allows for completing the environmental study and initiating the engineering phase. The project cost is estimated at $130 million. At this time, more than half of the funding has been identified through Proposition 400 regional transit tax and federal air quality dollars. The city of Tempe’s local transit tax funds all operations costs with a portion of the cost offset by passenger fare revenue.
About streetcar: Modern streetcar operates on tracks, typically mixed with automobile traffic, and powered by overhead power lines. It differs from light rail in its smaller vehicle size and single-car operation. Streetcar stops every few blocks similar to local bus service, but has a greater ability to attract new riders and draw economic development. Modern streetcar is unlike the vintage trolley that operates in San Francisco, but similar to Portland’s streetcar system.
About Valley Metro: Valley Metro provides eco-friendly public transit options to residents of greater Phoenix and Maricopa County including the planning and operations of a regional bus system and the development and operations of Valley Metro light rail. In calendar year 2012, total ridership for the system was 72.5 million passengers—an increase of 3.8 percent over 2011. The first 20 miles of light rail opened December 2008. Six light rail extensions are planned or under construction that will create a 57-mile system by 2032. Valley Metro also offers transit options including commuter vanpools, online carpool matching, bus trip mapping, bicycle safety and telework assistance. A board of 16 governments set the policy direction for the agency with the intent of advancing the regional public transit system. Get the latest news by following us on Facebook and Twitter or visiting ValleyMetro.org.
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