March 16, 2006

Sac State Tram project gets rolling with SACOG grant

“Sac State Tram” – a bus rapid transit type-system that will serve as a people-mover loop around the Sacramento State campus and connect the University with the 65th Street Light Rail Station.

“Sac State Tram” – a bus rapid transit type-system that will serve as a people-mover loop around the Sacramento State campus and connect the University with the 65th Street Light Rail Station.

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The Sacramento Area Council of Governments today approved a $924,000 capital grant for the planned “Sac State Tram” – a bus rapid transit type-system that will serve as a people-mover loop around the Sacramento State campus and connect the University with the 65th Street Light Rail Station.

Sacramento State officials say the grant is a major step toward giving faculty, staff and students a safe and convenient alternative way to get on and off campus. Just as importantly, the Tram will make the campus more accessible to the broader Sacramento regional community.

“One of the really great things about this project is how it will serve both the campus and the surrounding area,” said Sacramento State President Alexander Gonzalez. “The Sac State Tram will open our campus to the community, making it easier for visitors to come here for lectures or special events. And it will help us with parking and traffic, especially on weekday mornings.”

The Sac State Tram falls in line with the “smart growth” planning principles of SACOG’s Blueprint Project by helping to reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality. The project also ties into the city’s 65th Street/University Transit Village Master Plan and will help spur redevelopment efforts in the area.

The Tram is modeled after a similar system in Portland. The sleek, modern, rubber-tired vehicles are low to the ground, with doors opening on either side. The vehicles run on either dedicated roadways or existing streets, making the system flexible and easy to modify.

The $924,000 SACOG grant announced today is for design and engineering work on the campus loop, which at this point is envisioned as circling the perimeter of the campus on its own dedicated path or roadway.

Under the proposed short-term route, the Tram would take riders to Sacramento State from the 65th Street Station along Folsom Boulevard. The Tram would enter the University at the south end of campus at University Drive East. From there, the Tram would travel on the campus loop or dedicated roadway, connecting with numerous existing campus facilities and, ultimately, other projects still in the works – such as the Recreation and Wellness Center, a new events arena, proposed new student housing, the proposed Science and Space Center and the new campus bookstore.
The Sac State Tram, with an overall projected cost of $20 million, could begin with limited service as early as 2008, and should be completed by 2010. The University will seek additional grants to help build the project, and is also studying various other funding approaches as part of an overall look at all modes of transportation to and from campus.

The Tram grant proposal garnered widespread support from area property owners and community groups, as well as public agencies and elected officials, including U.S. Rep. Doris Matsui, Sacramento City Council Members Steve Cohn and Kevin McCarty, the City of Sacramento’s Planning Division and Sacramento Regional Transit. In addition to funding the Sac State Tram, SACOG also funded a City of Sacramento project to update the circulation plans in the 65th Street/University Transit Village district.

High-resolution concept drawings of the Sac State Tram are available at www.csus.edu/news/imagedownload. Media assistance is available from the Sacramento State Public Affairs Office at (916) 278-6156.

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