Significant levels of growth are projected to occur in the urban core of Sacramento and West Sacramento during the next 20 years. The two cities have approved land use entitlements for major urban infill projects including the Railyards, Bridge District, and Washington Area District. This projected growth will generate greater travel demand on local transit services and roadways. Given that this urban core is slated for higher density and intensity of land uses, the transportation facilities need to be augmented to provide transit service for shorter, local trips within the core across the Sacramento River. Focusing transit circulation within the urban core would be conducive to achieving planned urban development and redevelopment goals, foster economic development, and reduce traffic congestion and the need for additional parking facilities.
In 2006, the City of West Sacramento in cooperation with the other sponsor agencies prepared a feasibility study for the implementation of improved transit service. The feasibility study, which included a discussion of technology, alignment, financing opportunities, and operating plans, was summarized in the Phase 1 Summary Report, Downtown/Riverfront Streetcar Study. The City Council of West Sacramento adopted the findings of the Phase 1 report on May 9, 2007.
Following the adoption of the Phase 1 report, the City of West Sacramento completed a project-level Environmental Impact Report (EIR) that evaluated a streetcar line connecting West Sacramento with the City of Sacramento via Tower Bridge. Subsequent to the adoption of the Final EIR, SACOG conducted additional planning studies and outreach to stakeholders to identify funding options and further refine the alignment. These studies were finalized in 2012 with the completion of the Sacramento Streetcar System Plan and the selection of a Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA) for a Starter Line.