It’s nice to see that more information about the Tempe Streetcar is coming out. For years, we’ve had this seemingly “on again, off again” thing going on with the project. Couple that with some of the idiotic ideas that people have suggested like changing the technology along with rumors of the demise of the system, and it seems like we get a constant stream of mis-information about the system. Hopefully, this grant will show some of the naysayers that this is an extremely viable project. There seems to be some really good community support for the streetcar and we are looking forward to watching the next steps of the process. This route seems to be the one to get the Feds to give their final blessing.
Here’s a press release we saw from the City of Tempe.
Tempe Streetcar reaches a significant funding milestone with $75 million included as a recommendation in President Obama’s budget for Fiscal Year 2017. Congress must ultimately approve any federal funding as part of the appropriations process in the coming months.
“The Tempe Streetcar is an essential part of building our transit system into one that will serve future growth and spur revitalization and job growth,” said Tempe Mayor and Valley Metro Rail Board Vice Chair Mark Mitchell. “Being included in the President’s budget shows we have a strong project with community and regional support. We would like to thank the Federal Transit Administration for their continued support, and we’re excited to work with Congress in order to make sure this important investment is funded.”
Tempe Streetcar is a $177 million capital investment that will travel on Rio Salado Parkway from the Marina Heights development west to Mill Avenue. It will make a downtown loop on Mill and Ash avenues and continue south to Apache Boulevard. It will then turn east to Dorsey Lane, connecting with the Apache/Dorsey light rail station. The project will increase circulation in central Tempe and beyond with its connections to the larger Valley Metro system. It will also spur further development of the downtown core and provide connection to strong neighborhoods, major employers and downtown activities.
“Having a streetcar system that connects to the regional rail system will benefit our entire downtown Tempe community,” said Kate Borders Downtown Tempe Authority Executive Director. “This is an exciting step forward, ensuring that this investment will generate added appeal as a vibrant destination for all ages.”
Next steps include competitive procurements for streetcar vehicles and design, construction and artist contractors. Construction will initiate in 2017 and opening scheduled for 2019. Community outreach will continue throughout each phase, including extensive business outreach and programming.
Congrats to the City of Tempe and to all of the people who have worked so hard over the years to make this happen. People like Shana Ellis and others have been instrumental in getting and keeping the ball rolling to get this grant for Tempe Streetcar. The downtown area seems like a good fit for this project, and we know it has taken a lot of effort to make sure all of these pieces align to make it happen.