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At a press event last Friday, officials from the City of Sacramento and City of West Sacramento offered a preview of a proposed streetcar service that will connect the two cities. Earlier in the week, the Sacramento Area Council of Governments board of directors approved spending $5 million to continue engineering and complete the environmental analysis for a streetcar system downtown.

Estimated to be 3.3 miles long, the streetcar line would run from West Sacramento City Hall across the Tower Bridge to midtown Sacramento, passing landmarks such as Old Town Sacramento, Sacramento Valley Station, the proposed Entertainment and Sports Center, and the Convention Center .

Different from Sacramento Light Rail, which uses larger trains designed for longer trips into the suburbs, streetcars would be smaller, streamlined vehicles that make frequent stops in the urban core.

Representatives from Portland Streetcar Inc. were also present at the event, highlighting the business and property benefits of their city’s 15 mile line. The built-in foot traffic that accompanies streetcars spurs private development and investment, helping to revitalize the downtown area.

“I am excited to see a streetcar system allow citizens to move about our downtown more freely,” says Sparky Harris, City of Sacramento Streetcar Project Manager. “People will be able to hop on a streetcar every 10 minutes to go to a meeting, meet for lunch, attend an event, or socialize downtown without the stress and inconvenience of parking and re-parking.”

The goal is to have the downtown streetcar system operating by 2017. For more information, visit the project webpage.

Click here to see News 10’s video report.