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Study approved to examine possibility of Tempe streetcar extension into Mesa

Since its inception last year, the Tempe streetcar has made travel more accessible for residents in the city. Now, a study is being launched to examine expanding the service to Mesa.

Tempe recently approved an agreement with Mesa and Valley Metro to study an expansion of streetcar services. Sam Stevenson is the transit manager for Tempe.

“Through a number of previous studies, we’ve identified that the Rio Salado corridor, east of downtown Tempe, is probably a good candidate for high-capacity transit," he said.

He also discussed what may occur after the completion of the study.

“Once the study is completed, we hope to have adoption of the locally preferred alternative, the LPA. Then, the projects will move into the next phases through the federal, FTA process, and we’ll move into preliminary engineering.”

Costs for the study total $2 million with contributions from Tempe and Mesa. The analysis is expected to begin next month and extend to the summer of 2025. Eric Iwersen is the chief of staff for the Tempe mayor and City Council.

“This study will get into the details of where stops would be located, where the track would be located in the street, what kind of utility conflicts above ground, below ground exist, what we have to work around essentially to have a major train project in the corridor,” he said.

The study will also include input from the public, property owners and other stakeholders to ensure community feedback.

Ignacio Ventura is a reporter for KJZZ. He graduated from the University of Southern California with a bachelor’s degree in creative writing and a minor in news media and society.