Thousands gathered to celebrate the new addition to the San Diego Trolley. Photo credit: Courtesy, SANDAG.

Regional officials hosted federal, state and local leaders, and more than 8,500 community members Sunday to celebrate the start of service on the Mid-Coast Extension of the Blue Line Trolley.

The extension, built by the San Diego Association of Governments, remained on budget and on schedule throughout construction. The extension provides a direct connection from the U.S./Mexico Border to Westfield UTC and UC San Diego.

Community members enjoyed free trolley rides Sunday, along with live music, giveaways, and carnival rides. Elected officials who backed construction of the extension appeared to show their support.

“This is a historic day for the San Diego region as we commemorate one of the largest infrastructure projects in our history,” said SANDAG Chair and Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear.

Blakespear was joined by Metropolitan Transit System Vice Chair and National City Mayor Alejandra Sotelo-Solis, San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria, Rep. Scott Peters and Rep. Juan Vargas.

U.S. Senator Alex Padilla also provided virtual remarks at the celebration, at UCSD’s Central Campus Trolley Station.

“A one-seat ride from the border and our South Bay communities all the way up to University City on board our all-electric trolleys is a phenomenal addition to our public transit system,” Sotelo-Solis said.

San Diego Mayor Gloria said the “project will give San Diegans more clean transportation options that help us reach our bold climate goals while creating good jobs.”

Peters, who helped secure $1 billion in federal funding for the work, said “we can’t overstate the importance of this project for our region.”

“The extension of the Mid-Coast trolley checks all the boxes needed for San Diego’s continued prosperity: fewer cars on our roads to reduce traffic congestion and vehicle emissions, more options for commuters from San Ysidro all the way to UC San Diego, and a foreseeable boost in our local economy,” he said.

The $2.1 billion construction of the 11-mile extension, part of SANDAG’s 2021 Regional Plan, was also supported by state and local funds, including proceeds from TransNet, the half-cent sales tax administered by SANDAG for regional transportation projects.

The remainder came from a $1 billion Full Funding Grant Agreement with the Federal Transit Administration.

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