The LARGEST Single Transit Award in Tampa Bay History Awarded to HART
HART is the recipient of a $67.3 million FDOT grant for the Streetcar Extension and Modernization project
The Tampa Historic Streetcar System was originally used mostly by tourists, but the City of Tampa has been exploring ways to make the streetcar better used for residents, workers, visitors, and students in the area. The FDOT grant of $67.3 million will allow the City to put this plan to fruition.
The InVision: Tampa Streetcar is a 2.7-mile long streetcar transportation network that provides a unique connection from downtown Tampa and the Channelside District to the Ybor City historic district. The City is partnering with the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) and the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority (HART) to expand and modernize the current system.
In June of 2018, the City received approval from FTA to enter the Project Development phase to select a preferred alternative and refine improvement plans and strategies. The preferred alternative will include the following aspects:
- replacement of the existing replica streetcar vehicles with modern streetcar vehicles
- construction of a 1.3-mile fixed guideway with overhead power within existing rights-of-way from the western terminus of the existing system through the core of Downtown Tampa to Tampa Heights
- construction of stops along the extension guideway
- modifications to the existing 2.7-mile alignment guideway, power system, and stops to support modern streetcar operations
- modifications to the existing vehicle maintenance and storage facility to accommodate the new vehicles.
In October of 2018, HART was able to initiate service improvements with the support of a three-year FDOT grant. These improvements included fare-free service, longer operation hours, and greater service frequency. This was able to attract over 180,000 additional riders in the first four months of implementation, which was nearly triple the number of riders over the same period the previous year.
The preferred vehicle technology selected was modern streetcar vehicles because they provide the highest-capacity vehicle of the options considered. the other options included historic replica trolleys and premium buses. The modern streetcar vehicles will also offer easy access by the greatest share of the population, including those with mobility challenges.