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.