SANDAG gets $1B to extend trolley line to University City

SAN DIEGO – The San Diego Trolley extension to UC San Diego got a $1 billion boost today from the U.S. Department of Transportation, in what was described as the largest public transit project in the history of the region.

The Federal Transit Administration grant will cover about half the cost of the project, with the other half expected to be funded through a TransNet half-cent sales tax. The 11-mile Mid-Coast Trolley Extension will extend the existing Blue Line Trolley service from the Santa Fe Depot downtown into the University City area.

The announcement was made on the UCSD campus with FTA Acting Administrator Carolyn Flowers and officials from the San Diego Association of Government and Metropolitan Transit System.

“FTA is proud to partner with San Diego to bring new transit options to this growing region,” Flowers said. “With the population along the Mid- Coast corridor expected to grow nearly 20 percent in the coming decades, this trolley extension will offer a much-needed alternative to traffic congestion in the years ahead.”

The new trolley line will include nine new stations serving Mission Beach, Pacific Beach, the VA Medical Center, UC San Diego, the business and commercial districts along Genesee Avenue and the Westfield UTC shopping center. Groundbreaking is scheduled for Oct. 22, with project completion expected in 2021.

“The Obama Administration is committed to investing in transportation projects that improve mobility and provide ladders of opportunity for residents,” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement. “San Diego’s Trolley extension will do just that by helping thousands of transit riders to access employment, education, healthcare and other important services.”