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Tempe receives $50 million federal grant for streetcar system

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PHOENIX — The city of Tempe has received a $50 million grant from the federal government for the construction of its streetcar system.

The grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s capital investment program was part of an appropriations bill signed by President Donald Trump on Friday.

Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell said construction should begin next month, when Arizona State University students are away for the summer break.

“We will be beginning construction this summer in June with anticipation of getting some of the infrastructure in done and in place while ASU is out for the summer,” he said.

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Mitchell said his city will work with businesses along the route to keep things as normal as possible during the construction process.

“We’re going to be working locally with the businesses so that we can continue to have a good transition,” he said.

“We’re excited about the opportunity to have a streetcar in Tempe. It’s really good for the region.”

Last year, former President Barack Obama designated $75 million for the streetcar system.

The entire project was expected to cost about $177 million. About 40 percent of the project’s budget was expected to come from federal grants.

Valley Metro officials said they’re confident the project will be fully funded but will look into alternative routes or funding sources if money becomes an issue.

Construction was expected to be completed by 2020.

The three-mile streetcar system would connect the light rail stop at Apache Boulevard and Dorsey Lane to the stop at Third Street and Mill Avenue.

It will run east and west on Apache Boulevard and follow the road when it merges with north- and southbound Mill Avenue near ASU Gammage Auditorium.

There will be another streetcar line that will connect Ash Avenue and Rio Salado Parkway to the Mill Avenue route.

KTAR’s Ashley Flood and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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