Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Feds commit $135 million to extend Sacramento Light Rail Blue Line

Artist's rendering of the Morrison Creek Station Artist's rendering of the Morrison Creek Station

U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) has committed $135 million to extend the existing Sacramento Light Rail Blue Line by 4.3 miles, linking downtown Sacramento, Calif., to the growing South Sacramento County corridor.

The expansion offers commuters an alternative to congested Highway 99 while bringing new transit service to Cosumnes River College, one of the area's major employers.

Ridership on Sacramento's existing light-rail system rose by 7.4 percent between Fiscal Year 2011 and Fiscal Year 2012 and the area population is expected to grow steadily during the next five years as the local economy continues to improve. Extending the Blue Line will improve access to the area's major employers and encourage new retail and residential development in specially-zoned areas. According to Sacramento Regional Transit, which operates the line, the extension project will generate 1,000 jobs or more during the next two years.

"California's capital region needs robust transportation choices to ensure that current and future generations have ready and affordable access to jobs, education, medical appointments and more," said Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff. "The Blue Line light-rail extension will help thousands of Cosumnes students spend less at the pump and will spur retail and residential development at the new Morrison Creek Station and beyond."

The project extends the Blue Line 4.3 miles from Meadowview Road to Cosumnes River College and includes four new stations at Morrison Creek, Franklin Boulevard, Center Parkway and the college. The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) is funding 50 percent of the $270 million project through its New Starts Program. USDOT provided an additional $7.1 million; the remaining cost will be covered by state and local funding.

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