The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) and the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) have officially launched services on the Mid-Coast Extension of the University of California (UC) San Diego Blue Line Trolley.

This project has added around 17.7km to the UC San Diego Blue Line Trolley, which stretches from Downtown San Diego to the University Community.

Developed by SANDAG, construction for the Mid-Coast Trolley Project commenced at the end of 2016 and concluded on time, remaining within budget.

SANDAG Chair and Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear said: “This is a historic day for the San Diego region as we commemorate one of the largest infrastructure projects in our history.

“The Mid-Coast Trolley Extension is an example of how we can transform our transportation system through the 2021 Regional Plan by providing convenient, safe, and competitive transit access to job centres, education, and healthcare for everyone.”

MTS vice-chair Sotelo-Solis added: “A one-seat ride from the border and our South Bay communities all the way up to University City on board our all-electric trolleys is a phenomenal addition to our public transit system. It promises to increase opportunities for our people, reduce congestion, and to help San Diego achieve our climate action goals.”

This project is expected to support SANDAG’s 2021 Regional Plan, which aims to develop a ‘modernised’ transit system.

The $2.1bn project was supported by TransNet, the half-cent sales tax managed by SANDAG to back local transportation projects.

Rest of the funds were received from the Federal Transit Administration through a $1bn Full Funding Grant Agreement.

In 2019, Siemens Mobility bagged two contracts to provide S700 light-rail vehicles (LRVs) to Portland’s TriMet in Oregon and San Diego MTS.