San Diego, CA–Community members attended SANDAG’s Mid-Coast on Morena Community Appreciation Festival as some of the first to ride the southern portion of the Mid-Coast Extension of the UC San Diego Blue Line Trolley before it opens in November.
During the free event, co-hosted by MTS, Trolley riders visited the Tecolote Road Trolley Station, Clairemont Drive Trolley Station, and Balboa Avenue Transit Center. The three stations are nearly complete – signifying a major milestone for the $2.1 billion transit project linking the international border with the University Community with a one-seat ride.
In addition to the Trolley rides, the family-friendly festivities included local food vendors, live music, giveaways, and remarks from local dignitaries instrumental in getting the Trolley extension built on time and on budget.
SANDAG Chair and Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear were joined by Congressman Scott Peters – a long-time Trolley supporter who was instrumental in obtaining federal funding for the project. In addition, MTS Vice-Chair and National City Mayor Alejandra Sotelo-Solis and San Diego Council President Jen Campbell spoke at the event, which was also attended by local, state, and federal leadership.
“Today is about celebrating the community members who have guided and supported this project every step of the way. SANDAG is incredibly proud to build this significant project and in just a few months, we will deliver it to MTS to operate,” said SANDAG Chair Blakespear. “This is a significant step toward achieving SANDAG’s vision for the 2021 Regional Plan – to provide faster, fairer, and cleaner transportation options that will serve the region for generations to come.”
The success of the Mid-Coast Extension is a testament to SANDAG’s ability to plan, construct, and deliver large-scale projects. This major investment in regional transportation is only possible thanks to SANDAG’s Regional Plan, which sets in motion decades of planning, engineering, design, and construction. The 2021 update to the Regional Plan envisions a convenient, green, and equitable transportation future, completing projects just as big, bold, and essential as the Mid-Coast Extension.
“The progress of the Mid-Coast Extension has had my full support from the very beginning. What started as a simple idea to improve regional transit options is now a monumental project that will move commuters more efficiently and cleanly, easing traffic congestion and improving air quality,” said Congressman Peters. “Securing more than $1 billion to make this historic $2.1 billion project a reality has been a priority for me in Congress and I look forward to the inaugural ride in a few months.”
The Mid-Coast Extension being built by SANDAG is one of the largest infrastructure projects in the San Diego region’s history and remains on budget and on schedule. The extension will expand the MTS Trolley system, providing a direct connection from the U.S./Mexico Border to the University Community, with service to communities in between.
“This Trolley extension is going to open up brand new destinations for people in the South Bay and all over the San Diego region without ever having to get in a car,” said Alejandra Sotelo-Solis, MTS Vice-Chair and Mayor of National City. “It will provide incredible new connections. It will link the communities of Bay Park and Clairemont to both the University area, downtown, and beyond. It offers direct connections to the Green Line and to the Orange Line. It’s truly a gateway to opportunity.”
The Mid-Coast project will extend UC San Diego Blue Line Trolley service from Downtown San Diego north to the University Community, serving major activity centers such as Mission Bay Park, the VA Medical Center, UC San Diego, and University Towne Centre. The 11-mile extension includes nine new Trolley stations, three of which people visited today along Morena Boulevard.
The $2.1 billion project is made possible with funds from TransNet, the half-cent sales tax administered by SANDAG to support transportation projects in the San Diego region. TransNet is funding approximately half of the project, with the remainder provided by a grant from the Federal Transit Administration. Major construction for the project began in 2016.