The Hillsborough Area Regional Authority (HART) was awarded $2.7 million in grant funding from the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), which will support extending TECO Line Streetcar service hours, increase frequency, and provide free rides to customers for the next three years.
"Enhanced streetcar service will better connect downtown Tampa and historic Ybor City, giving residents and tourists another commuter option, as they travel around downtown for business or leisure," said HART Interim CEO Jeff Seward.
The $2.7 million grant will be used to increase streetcar service from every 20 minutes to every 15 minutes and provide extended service hours. The increased streetcar service will improve mobility and access by affording residents access to additional job opportunities, and provide enhanced connectivity in downtown, the Channel District, and Ybor City.
The enhanced streetcar service will accomplish multiple goals; however, the primary objective is to add another mobility and connectivity option for residents, employees, and visitors in downtown Tampa and the city at large. With planned extensions, the streetcar will also create a vital connection between downtown and neighborhoods and further spread the vibrancy and development that is currently being seen in the downtown area. The Streetcar Extension Study from Downtown Tampa to Tampa Heights, also funded by FDOT, is currently in project development to pursue federal funding.
"This grant funding gives the TECO Line Streetcar System the opportunity to be a more viable transportation option for residents and tourists in Tampa. As waitlists for downtown parking increase, and Water Street construction gets underway, the TECO Line Streetcar becomes an invaluable travel option for those living and working in downtown and historic Ybor City. This could be a game changer for transportation in downtown Tampa." said Tampa Historic Streetcar Inc. President Michael English.
The FDOT grant will help boost ridership and increase efficiency of the TECO Line Streetcar System, providing greater opportunity for the authority to provide a commuter service that meets the growing needs of Tampa's downtown community.