May 20, 2022
Tempe, AZ – All aboard the Valley’s first modern streetcar! Passenger service on Valley Metro Streetcar began in Tempe at 10 a.m. today after a ribbon-cutting ceremony featuring local leaders and elected officials. The three-mile streetcar route will take riders to major employment centers, entertainment and event destinations, historic neighborhoods and connect to the regional transit network.
“We are so pleased to help support the Tempe Streetcar, which will provide a fast, convenient, car-free option connecting downtown Tempe and Arizona State University,” said FTA Regional Administrator Ray Tellis, whose agency provided $75 million to support the project in addition to $17 million in federal funding under the American Rescue Plan. “With connections to Valley Metro’s light rail system, destinations like Phoenix, Mesa and Sky Harbor Airport are now just a train ride away.”
The hybrid streetcar vehicle travels to 14 stops in Tempe and connects to Valley Metro Rail in two locations. The route serves Tempe destinations such as Tempe Beach Park, Marina Heights, Gammage Auditorium and ASU sports facilities and will support growing travel demand in the central city and region.
“With Tempe having the highest transit ridership per capita in the state, as well as the highest density, a multi-modal transportation network is essential,” said Tempe Mayor Corey Woods. “We are building for our future, and the Streetcar is a great example of that.”
Public art, created by five Arizona artists, is incorporated at all stops and reflects the culture, architecture and natural beauty of the surrounding area. Learn more about the streetcar’s unique public art on the Valley Metro Artsline Interactive Map.
“Streetcar adds another sustainable option for transit riders to move around the Valley and enhances our comprehensive, regional transit network,” said Valley Metro CEO Jessica Mefford-Miller. “It’s also the start of a streetcar system that we hope to extend into Mesa in the coming years.”
Construction on the project began in 2018. The streetcar was funded through a combination of federal grants, regional Proposition 400 and local city of Tempe transportation funds, including a unique partnership between several private sector entities along the streetcar route.
“Modern streetcar would absolutely not exist without the partnership of several creative and bold leaders, including Valley Metro, the City of Tempe and the local business community,” said John Graham, President & CEO of Sunbelt Holdings, and one of the more than a dozen business members to raise $13 million for the streetcar project. “We rallied together to help fund this first-of-its-kind public-private partnership because we recognize streetcar’s benefit to downtown Tempe and to us as employers and developers along this and future corridors.”
Streetcar shares the road with other vehicles and travels with mixed traffic. The vehicle is powered by an overhead electrification system, similar to light rail, and also stores power in a battery to travel off-wire on Mill Avenue. Current service is anticipated every 20 minutes, with frequency improving later this year with the addition of the final two streetcar vehicles.
Learn more about the streetcar at valleymetro.org/streetcar.