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Trolley Line Extension To UCSD Awaits Commission’s OK

Joe Wolf / Flickr

An MTS trolley in downtown San Diego, April 2, 2011.

The blue line extension would run from San Ysidro north to UC San Diego, with stops at the VA Medical Center and northern portions of the region.

A long-awaited trolley extension from Old Town north to University City is on track to begin construction in the fall, pending approval this week by the California Coastal Commission.

The Mid-Coast Corridor will extend the blue line 11 miles to UC San Diego roughly following the route of Interstate 5. The line currently begins at the border and stops in Old Town. The California Coastal Commission will hear the case for the $1.7 billion project Wednesday.

Pending the commssion's OK, the San Diego Association of Governments expects the Federal Transit Administration will approve the project's grants in time to begin construction in the fall. Federal grants will cover half the cost. The rest will be covered by the region's TransNet half-cent sales tax for transportation.

“It will be about five years of construction, but when we finish San Diego we'll have another major trolley transit facility that will be serving the public in, I think, a very significant way,” said John Haggerty, division director of rail at SANDAG.

The extended blue line was part of the original vision for the trolley system. It will link riders near the border with the fast growing population centers north of downtown San Diego. North County is expected to grow 19 percent by 2030, Haggerty said.

Nine new stations are proposed for the extension, including stops at Tecolote Road, Clairemont Drive, Balboa Avenue, Nobel Drive, Pepper Canyon (UCSD west campus), Voigt Drive (UCSD east campus), Executive Drive, VA Medical Center and the terminus station at Westfield UTC Transit Center.

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