2 Arizona transportation projects, including Tempe Streetcar extension, get $39M in federal grants

Jun 26, 2024, 9:51 AM | Updated: 9:52 am

This file photo shows the Tempe Streetcar running. A project to extend the line into Mesa is gettin...

An East Valley streetcar extension project is getting nearly $16 million in federal funding for design and environmental work. (City of Tempe Photo)

(City of Tempe Photo)

PHOENIX – Two Arizona transportation projects, including an East Valley streetcar extension, were selected to receive over $39 million in federal funding, officials announced this week.

The Commercial Transportation Infrastructure Enhancement Project in southern Arizona is getting about $23.5 million, and the Valley Metro Rio East-Dobson Streetcar Extension was awarded nearly $16 million.

The money comes from the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) discretionary grant program, which is funded by through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

The Biden administration on Wednesday announced $1.8 billion in RAISE awards for 148 projects nationwide, including the two in Arizona.

The latest round brings the total of RAISE grants awarded to over $7.2 billion for about 550 projects, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

How will funding be used for East Valley streetcar expansion project?

U.S. Rep. Greg Stanton broke the news about the East Valley streetcar extension grant on Monday. The new funding will go toward the completion of design and environmental work for the Rio East-Dobson Streetcar Extension.

“This initial investment is recognition of the streetcar’s potential to boost economic development in Mesa, just as it has in Tempe,” Stanton said in a press release.

Plans for project call for 4.35 new miles of new track connecting the Tempe Streetcar line on Rio Salado Parkway to the Valley Metro light rail system at Dobson Road and Main Street in Mesa.

“This RAISE grant is a transformative investment in our community’s future, readying the area for anticipated population growth and increased employment,” Mesa Mayor John Giles said in the release. “The Rio East-Dobson Streetcar Extension will not only enhance connectivity between Tempe and Mesa but also provide vital high-capacity transit options for historically underserved areas.”

The Tempe Streetcar, a 3-mile route with 14 stops, debuted in May 2022 after four years of construction.

What do we know about the southern Arizona transportation project?

Meanwhile, the other Arizona project getting RAISE funding aims to improve road safety in the border city of Douglas.

The Commercial Transportation Infrastructure Enhancement Project is focused on designing and constructing improvements for nearly 8 miles on 10 roadways.

The goal is to divert truck traffic away from the city’s downtown area so it can be redeveloped into a pedestrian-oriented center.

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2 Arizona transportation projects, including Tempe Streetcar extension, get $39M in federal grants