The US Federal Transit Administration (FTA) is to provide a $1.04bn federal grant to San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) to help extend the existing Blue Line Trolley service from downtown San Diego to the University City area.

Once complete, the 10.92-mile extension will provide better access to employment centres and various educational and medical facilities north of downtown.

Locally known as Mid-Coast Trolley, the extension will also serve major activity centres, including Old Town, Mission Bay Park, the Department of Veteran’s Affairs Medical Centre, UC San Diego, and Westfield UTC shopping centre.

According to officials’ estimates, the expanded project will serve 24,600 transit trips every weekday, with services expected to begin in 2021.

"This trolley extension will offer a much-needed alternative to traffic congestion in the years ahead."

Once completed, San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) will operate the extension.  

Federal Transit Administration acting administrator Carolyn Flowers said: “With the population along the Mid-Coast corridor expected to grow nearly 20% in the coming decades, this trolley extension will offer a much-needed alternative to traffic congestion in the years ahead."

FTA has committed the latest grant through its capital investment grant (CIG) programme for the $2.17bn Mid-Coast Corridor Transit Project.

Out of the $1.04bn grant, $100m will be provided initially, with the remaining amount granted over ten years on an annual payment schedule.


Image: FTA to provide grant for trolley service expansion in San Diego, US. Photo: courtesy of US Department of Transportation.