Sac State Tram project awarded more funding
Plans to create a tram system in and around Sacramento State continue to roll on schedule.
An $800,000 grant for further planning and design work on the proposed commuter link was approved by the California Transportation Commission on Thursday, June 7, following an earlier recommendation by the Sacramento Area Council of Governments, the panel that oversees local transportation projects and funding.
The grant is a mix of state and federal funds channeled through the SACOG. This, combined with a $924,000 grant received last year, will see the project through its final design, says tram coordinator Cindy Collins, from University Enterprises Inc., which oversees business and development for Sacramento State.
If the process continues at this pace, the system could be up and running by fall of 2010. It’s a tight timetable. “But it’s doable,” says Collins.
As proposed, the system would use a series of vehicles designed for quick passenger loading and unloading. The vehicles would serve as a circulator for the immediate area, including the 65th Street light rail station, delivering riders to Sacramento State with stations conveniently located throughout the campus. Four to five trams would be cruising in and around the campus during the busiest times of day, getting 3,500 to 5,000 people out of their cars and onto public transit, says Collins.
The next step has already been taken, with an application for $2.4 million in federal money to purchase the vehicles. SACOG has endorsed the application and University Enterprises should find out if it was successful in the next few months. “The University is diligently pursuing additional funding and grant opportunities,” says Collins.
No decision has been made yet on how the vehicles will be powered, but Collins says officials are looking at alternative, clean-fuel propulsion systems. The trams will travel on dedicated roadways on campus and on existing surface streets.
Public outreach is still focused on University and community officials at this time, says Collins, and project supporters have been encouraged by what they’ve heard. “The response has been incredibly positive,” says Collins.
Support on campus also is high. In a survey of 2,500 faculty, staff and students, 53 percent said they would ride light rail to or from campus if there was a convenient shuttle option.
An artist’s rendition of the proposed shuttle is available at www.csus.edu/news/imagedownload.
For more information about the tram project or other media assistance, contact the Sacramento State Public Affairs Office at (916) 278-6156.