Valley Metro has received approval from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to begin the initial phase of significant construction on the Tempe Streetcar, the Valley’s first modern streetcar line. With this approval, Valley Metro will start work this fall on building the system’s rail trackway, power systems and street improvements.
The FTA delivered to Valley Metro a Letter of No Prejudice that allows Valley Metro to proceed with construction work pending approval of a grant agreement with the federal government. Valley Metro hopes to enter into a funding agreement in early 2019.
“This milestone would not have been possible without the support of our federal delegation and officials at FTA, for which we are grateful. With this approval, we can now move forward to keep this project on budget and on schedule,” said Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell. “Many, including advocates in the local business community, have been working tirelessly to see this project come to fruition for the betterment of our community’s quality of life and economic sustainability.”
Preliminary construction and underground utility work is currently underway. This fall, construction will shift into high gear.
“The Tempe community has a long history of supporting public transit and is already one of the highest public transit ridership centers in the region,” said Robin Arredondo Savage, Tempe City Councilmember and Vice Chair of the Valley Metro Rail Board. “Streetcar will be a critical link in our total transit network, connecting strong neighborhoods, major business centers and regional events and destinations – supporting growing travel demand and business interest in Tempe and throughout the region.”
“This positive step demonstrates FTA’s favorable view of this project,” said Valley Metro CEO Scott Smith. “We look forward to working with FTA to receive our final grant agreement in the next few months. This project is unique because it is being built with a combination of local, regional and federal funds, and with $13 million in voluntary contributions from local property owners along the streetcar route.”
Tempe Streetcar is scheduled to open in 2021.