Tempe Streetcar Update

More from this show

The Tempe Streetcar will receive $50 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation Capital Investment Grants program in an appropriations bill signed by President Trump. The start of construction on the project is slated for early June. Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell will tell us more.


TED SIMONS: NEXT ON ARIZONA HORIZON, AN UPDATE ON THE TEMPE STREETCAR PROJECT.

TED SIMONS: THE CITY OF TEMPE SAID THE DOWNTOWN STREETCAR PROJECT WILL RECEIVE $50 MILLION FROM THE US DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION CAPITAL INVESTMENT GRANTS PROGRAM SIGNED BY PRESIDENT TRUMP. TEMPE MAYOR, MARK MITCHELL. DEFINE THE TEMPE STREETCAR PROJECT. WHAT IS IT?

MITCH MITCHELL: IT'S A STREETCAR PROJECT WE'VE BEEN WORKING ON FOR MANY YEARS. AND THE SECOND ONE WE'VE HAD IN TEMPE.

TED SIMONS: THIS GOES LOOPTY LOOPS AROUND DOWNTOWN. IT GOES DOWN -- THERE WE GO. TOWARD MARINA HEIGHTS THERE. THEN IT GOES TO -- WHY DID YOU STOP THERE?

MITCH MITCHELL: WELL, THE -- THE COSTS. WE LIKE TO MOVE FORWARD AND WE'RE VERY ECSTATIC AND HAPPY THAT WE WERE ALERTED ON MAY 1 FROM THE FTA, THE FELLOW TRANSIT ADMINISTRATION. IT'S A $186 MILLION PROJECT. $111 MILLION IS COMING FROM LOCAL FUNDS. $75 MILLION COMING FROM THE FEDERAL TRANSIT ADMINISTRATION. AND ADDITIONAL $13 MILLION IS COMING FROM PUBLIC/PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS. WHICH IS REALLY EXCITING. IT'S ONE OF THE FIRST IN THE STATE OF ARIZONA AND MAYBE IN THE SOUTHWEST WHERE YOU HAVE A PUBLIC/PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP WHERE THE COMMUNITIES STEP UP AND PARTNERS LIKE ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY AND THE BUSINESSES ALONG THE STREETCAR ROUTES.

TED SIMONS: IF WE CAN SHOW THAT MAP ONE MORE TIME. I WANT TO ASK, HOW MANY STOPS NOW. IF I WERE TO GET ON AT ONE END AND WIND UP AT THE OTHER, ARE THE BLACK DOTS STOPS?

MITCH MITCHELL: I BELIEVE THERE'S 14 STOPS?

TED SIMONS: 14 STOPS.

MITCH MITCHELL: 10-MINUTE INTERVALS. IT COINCIDES WITH THE LIGHT RAIL. EFFICIENT. EVERY 10 MINUTES, WE HAVE THE STREETCAR STOP ALONG THE STREETCAR ROUTE.

TED SIMONS: THE NEXT WILL SHOW A CROSS SECTION OF A STREET AND HOW IT WILL FIT IN. BECAUSE THESE THINGS HAVE TO FIT IN. WE HAVE IT GOING TO AND FROM, IS THAT CORRECT?

MITCH MITCHELL: CORRECT.

MITCH MITCHELL: I DON'T KNOW WHAT STREET IT'S ON.

TED SIMONS: WILL IT BLOCK TRAFFIC? WILL I BE HONKING MY HORN?

MITCH MITCHELL: NO, IT WILL BE IN A LANE OF TRAFFIC. IT WILL FLOW WITH THE LANE OF TRAFFIC WHICH HELPS TO MOVE TRAFFIC. THE GOAL IS TO MOVE PEOPLE IN AND AROUND THE DOWNTOWN AREA.

TED SIMONS: THE GREEN VEHICLE, WHERE THAT GREEN CAR IS, THAT'S A LANE OF TRAFFIC?

MITCH MITCHELL: THAT -- YES. THAT SHOULD BE A LANE OF TRAFFIC. THAT MAY BE ON - RIO SALADO?

TED SIMONS: OKAY, OKAY.

TED SIMONS: THE NEXT GRAPHIC, I KNOW WHERE THIS IS. LOOKING NORTH FROM THIRD STREET. SO THAT IS PERFECT, GOING TO BE IN THE MIDDLE.

MITCH MITCHELL: GOING NORTHBOUND. ON MILLER AVENUE HEADING TOWARDS THE LAKESIDE. IT'S IN THE LANE OF TRAFFIC. THAT'S THE THIRD AND MILL. THAT'S A LEFT TURN STOP THERE.

TED SIMONS: LEFT LANE OF TRAFFIC?

MITCH MITCHELL: ONE LANE GOING NORTH AND SOUTH AND THAT STREETCAR ROUTE IS GOING NORTH.

TED SIMONS: WILL THERE BE WIRES OVERHEAD?

MITCH MITCHELL: WELL, ONE OF THE EXCITING ASPECTS OF THIS IS THERE'S GOING TO BE A WIRELESS IN THE DOWNTOWN AREA. AND WE PARTNERED WITH A STREETCAR MANUFACTURER THAT THEY WILL HELP US WITH THE TECHNOLOGY WITH THE BATTERY OF TECHNOLOGY. SO IN THE DOWNTOWN AREA, WE LOVE OUR DOWNTOWN AND OUR TREES, THE TECHNOLOGY IS STARTING TO GET THERE. THERE'S OTHER PARTS OF THE COUNTRY THAT HAVE WIRELESS PARTS OF THE STREETCAR. WE'LL HAVE A DOWNTOWN SEGMENT THAT'S WIRELESS.

TED SIMONS: OKAY. YOU MENTIONED -- $50 MILLION FROM THE FEDS. YOU WERE SAYING $75 MILLION TOTAL. ARE WE WAITING FOR THE $25 MILLION?

MITCH MITCHELL: HOW IT WORKS IN SUBSEQUENT YEARS, YOU GET ADDITIONAL FUNDING IN THE FIRST YEAR, THE INITIAL FUND WILLING BE DONE IN THE NEXT YEAR. WE'RE LOOKING AT $25 MILLION IN THE NEXT YEAR.

TED SIMONS: IT'S COMING?

MITCH MITCHELL: IT'S COMING.

MITCH MITCHELL: NO QUESTION ABOUT THAT.

TED SIMONS: AS YOU MENTIONED, REGIONAL TAXES AND LOCAL TAXES AND PUBLIC, PRIVATE, THE WHOLE NINE YARDS. WHAT ABOUT FAIRS? WHAT ABOUT FAIRS?

MITCH MITCHELL: THERE WILL BE FAIRS BUT IT WILL BE CONSISTENT WITH THE LIGHT RAIL. BUT WE ALSO UNDERSTAND THAT FOR THE STUDENTS, YOU SHOW YOUR ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY I.D. CARD AS WELL AS THE HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS. WE OFFER THE BEST PASSES. IT WILL BE CONSISTENT WITH THE LIGHT RAIL.

TED SIMONS: OKAY, SO IT'S NOT GOING TO BE A FREE RIDE.

MITCH MITCHELL: IT'S NOT GOING TO BE A FREE RIDE. WE STILL HAVE THE ORBIT. WHAT'S UNIQUE ABOUT THE STREETCAR, IT COMPLEMENTS HIGHLY USED INFRASTRUCTURE. SO IT WILL COMPLEMENT. TEMPE IS ONE OF THE HIGHEST RIDERSHIPS FOR PUBLIC TRANSPORTATIONS IN THE REGION. AND HAVING THIS COMPONENT WITH THE STREETCAR REALLY COMPLEMENTS EVERYTHING THAT WE HAVE IN OUR COMMUNITY.

TED SIMONS: LET'S TALK ABOUT THAT, THAT COMPLEMENTARY ASPECT OF IT ALL. THE ORBITS, THE BLUE THINGS RUNNING ALL OVER THE PLACE. THE LIGHT RAIL, A TEMPE STREETCAR ALL OVER THE PLACE.

MITCH MITCHELL: NOT GOING ALL OVER THE PLACE. WE'D LIKE IT TO.

TED SIMONS: WHEN YOU GET TO DOWNTOWN TEMPE, THERE ARE THINGS FLYING ALL OVER. WHY IS THIS NEED?

MITCH MITCHELL: IT'S NEEDED. WE NEED TO MOVE. JUST IN THE DOWNTOWN AREA ALONE, IN THE TEMPE AREA, YOU HAVE OVER 44,000 PEOPLE WHO LIVE AND WORK WITHIN THAT AREA. AND WITH THE STATE AND DISTRICT COMING ON-LINE AND WITH THE STREETCAR ON RIO SALADO, WE WANT TO CONNECT IT AND WE'RE WORKING WITH THE CITY OF MESA, THEY'RE DOING A STUDY ALONG RIO SALADO SO WE CAN HAVE THE CONNECTIVITY AND ULTIMATELY CONNECT TO THE LIGHT RAIL IN THE YEARS.

TED SIMONS: YOU HAVE RURAL AND RIO SALADO. SOMETHING HAS TO HAPPEN THERE.

MITCH MITCHELL: 350 ACRES. THAT'S THE EQUIVALENT. THAT'S 50 CITY BLOCKS. AND WE'LL HAVE MULTIMODAL TRANSPORTATION OPTIONS FOR THE RESIDENTS AND THE BUSINESSES THERE. THIS IS GOING TO COMPLEMENT EVERYTHING WE HAVE. WITH THE STREETCAR, WE'RE NOT GOING TO HAVE THE BUSES BECAUSE WE'LL HAVE THE STREETCAR.

TED SIMONS: THAT WILL CHANGE.

MITCH MITCHELL: WE'RE LOOKING AT EXPANDING THE SYSTEM TO OTHER PARTS OF THE CITY TO MAKE IT COMPLEMENTARY.

TED SIMONS: THE TARGETED PASSENGER IS --

MITCH MITCHELL: YOU, ME. EVERYONE.

MITCH MITCHELL: SO THE TARGETED PASSENGER. IT'S REALLY A QUALITY OF LIFE ISSUE FOR THE RESIDENTS. WITH THE NEIGHBORHOODS THAT SURROUND DOWNTOWN, PRESERVE OUR NEIGHBORHOODS, AND HELP TO COMPLEMENT THE EXISTING BUSINESSES AND MAKING SURE THAT WE'RE ABLE TO MOVE PEOPLE IN AND AROUND THE AREA.

TED SIMONS: TALK ABOUT THE EXISTING BUSINESSES? WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN WHEN CONSTRUCTION STARTS.

MITCH MITCHELL: WE START THIS JUNE. WE START IN THE AVENUE IN DOWNTOWN TEMPE MANY JUNE. SO HOPEFULLY THEY HAVE LESS IMPACT. ONE OF THE THINGS WE DID WELL AND WE LEARNED WITH THE LIGHT RAIL IS WE'RE GOING TO HAVE A BUSINESS ASSISTANCE PROGRAM THAT ARE WORKING AND PARTNERING WITH VALLEY METRO TO HELP WITH THE BUSINESSES ALONG THE STREETCAR ROUTE TO MAKE SURE THEY'RE THERE TO HELP THEM. 24/7, REACHING OUT THE BUSINESSES. THEY UNDERSTAND IT'S COMING BECAUSE THEY KNOW -- LOOK AT THE SUCCESS WE'RE HAVING WITH LIGHT RAIL. PHOENIX EXPANDED, MESA EXPANDED. TEMPE WITH THE STREETCAR. IT GOES HAND IN HAND WITH THE VISION OF WHAT WE'RE TRYING TO DO IN AND AROUND THE REGION.

TED SIMONS: STARTS IN JUNE, COMPLETION DATE SOMEWHERE AROUND WHERE, 20/20?

MITCH MITCHELL: YES, 20/20.

TED SIMONS: GOOD LUCK, WE'RE ROOTING FOR YOU. THOSE OF US WHO HAVE TO DRIVE AROUND THERE, WE'RE ROOTING FOR YOU.

MITCH MITCHELL: YES.

TED SIMONS: GOOD TO SEE YOU.

MITCH MITCHELL: GOOD TO SEE YOU TOO. THANKS.

Mark Mitchell: Mayor of Tempe

Graphic with the words
airs July 19

Psyche Mission

Former President Donald Trump
airs July 15

Republican National Convention: Four nights of coverage

Three main characters from mystery shows premiering this summer

It’s the Summer of Mystery!

Illustration of columns of a capitol building with text reading: Arizona PBS AZ Votes 2024

Arizona PBS presents candidate debates

Subscribe to Arizona PBS Newsletters

STAY in touch
with azpbs.org!

Subscribe to Arizona PBS Newsletters: