Sacramento Riverfront Streetcar Project Receives $30 million State Grant

The Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG) announced yesterday that the California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA) announced the selection of the Downtown/Riverfront Streetcar for $30 million in funds from the Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program to advance the planning and construction of the streetcar.

The Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program (TIRCP) is one of several state programs funded by auction proceeds from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund of California’s Cap and Trade Program. These programs invest in projects that increase transit ridership and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The TIRCP funds are administered by CalSTA. “The state is pleased to support the streetcar project that will connect people to key regional destinations like the Sacramento Valley Station, Raley Field, Golden1 Center, and to local businesses,” said CalSTA Secretary, Brian Kelly. “The project has strong support from local and federal leaders as well as members of the community. We look forward to seeing the positive benefits this project will offer such as reduced vehicle emissions and convenient connectivity between both Sacramento and West Sacramento.”

The Downtown/Riverfront Streetcar has been a priority for the Sacramento region, but could not have made it to this phase of implementation without significant federal support and funding. Congresswoman Doris O. Matsui said, “For more than 70 years, Sacramento’s streetcar system connected residents, visitors, and the region’s workforce. Today’s announcement adds to our momentum as we revitalize that history and bring streetcars back to Sacramento. The Downtown Riverfront Streetcar project will work with our existing public transit systems by linking residents to their final destinations, while helping our environment. Along with the commitment made by the Federal Transportation Administration, the award brings us closer to making our vision of streetcars in Sacramento a reality.”

An independent economic analysis conducted for the streetcar demonstrated that the project conservatively would generate over $2.7 billion in benefits during the first 20 years, and conservatively over $70 million in new local tax revenues.

"As Vice-chair of the SACOG Board of Directors and a member of the California Air Resources Board, I am very pleased that the CA State Transportation Agency has identified the Downtown/Riverfront Streetcar for Cap and Trade funding," Sacramento County Supervisor Phil Serna said. "This is a highly competitive statewide program, and the projects selected are those that will deliver greenhouse gas reductions, are key to shaping successful urban infill neighborhoods, and that provide the public with multi-modal transportation options."

The Downtown/Riverfront Streetcar planning team, a partnership of the cities of Sacramento and West Sacramento, Yolo County Transportation District, Sacramento Regional Transit, and SACOG submitted an application for $30M to implement the Downtown/Riverfront Sacramento-West Sacramento Streetcar. The capital work to be funded under the grant include:

  • construction of the initial 3.3-mile loop (6.24 track miles) of the Downtown/Riverfront Streetcar; 
  • construction of 19 streetcar stops on the expanded streetcar route;
  • and purchase of six streetcar vehicles.
This new funding is designated for capital construction costs for the streetcar--one of the region’s highest priority transit projects. This award completes the capital funding for the base streetcar project. The project sponsors anticipate using this funding to leverage additional funds that could go toward relocating light rail vehicles off of K Street to improve multi-modal transportation efficiency, to extend the project in West Sacramento, and to construct the infrastructure to allow light rail vehicles to Raley Field and the River District of West Sacramento during high occupancy events.

The Downtown/Riverfront Streetcar is a critical infrastructure component in the region’s plan to meet mobility needs, reduce car congestion, and to reach the region’s greenhouse gas reduction and air quality targets. It will help meet the needs of an increasing number of downtown destinations, large regional events, and a growing population in the downtown core of Sacramento and West Sacramento, with its projected population growth from 8,200 people to 34,500 over the next 20 years.

Steve Hansen, Sacramento City Council Member for District, 4 which includes the service area for the streetcar noted, “This is great news for all the jurisdictions collaborating on the Downtown/Riverfront Streetcar. Multimodal transportation is a key part of a thriving urban core, and that is a priority for Sacramento, West Sacramento, and the region."


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