News Release

06.22.2021 | News Release

 On Wednesday, SANDAG and MTS celebrated the unveiling of the future VA Medical Center Trolley Station, one of nine new stations that make up the Mid-Coast extension of the UC San Diego Blue Line Trolley.

The event included remarks by SANDAG Chair and Mayor of Encinitas Catherine Blakespear, MTS Chair and San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher, San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria, UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep Khosla, Veterans Affairs (VA) San Diego Healthcare System Director Dr. Robert M. Smith, and San Diego Veterans Coalition President Ron Stark.

“The unveiling of this station is a momentous milestone in the construction of the Mid-Coast extension of the UC San Diego Blue Line Trolley,” said SANDAG Chair Blakespear. “SANDAG is committed to working with our partners to provide faster, fairer, and cleaner transportation options for every person in this region, especially the brave individuals who have served our nation.”

The Mid-Coast extension of the UC San Diego Blue Line Trolley is a priority project for SANDAG and will have a transformative impact on regional transit connectivity. The project will expand the current Trolley network to provide a one-seat ride from the U.S.−Mexico border all the way north to the University community.

In addition to serving the VA San Diego Healthcare System’s 84,500 veterans, the extension will serve UC San Diego, which supports 75,000 students, faculty, and staff. It also will connect two of the largest employment centers in the San Diego region—UTC and Downtown San Diego. Major construction for the Trolley extension began in 2016, and the project remains on budget and on schedule to begin service in November 2021.

At Wednesday’s event, SANDAG Chair Blakespear recognized the important role MTS Chair Fletcher played in ensuring that the station design honored veterans. The Trolley station features flags and bronze seals representing the five military branches as well as the Department of Veterans Affairs. Additionally, each military branch’s official motto is emblazoned upon the station platform in stainless steel lettering.

“San Diego and the people who served in our military are forever intertwined and this station gives a proper salute to those who have served our country,” said Nathan Fletcher, MTS Board Chair and Chair of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors. “The VA Medical Center is a first-class healthcare campus, and now at its doorstep is a first-class transit system. I am pleased to see this design come to life and thank SANDAG and MTS staff for making it a reality.”

Located on the VA San Diego Healthcare System campus, the Trolley station will improve transit access to the VA Medical Center for veterans and medical staff. Construction for the station is nearly complete, a major milestone for the 11-mile Mid-Coast extension.

“San Diego is proud that so many veterans of the U.S. military call our city home,” said San Diego Mayor Gloria. “We must always support them in gratitude for their service. It is essential that our service members and their families have safe and convenient access to health care, and the new Blue Line Trolley stop at the VA Medical Center will do just that.”

In addition to unveiling the station design, the event featured the presentation of colors by a local veterans color guard, a performance of the national anthem by a soloist from Navy Region Southwest, and remarks from local dignitaries. 

The $2.1 billion project is made possible with funds from TransNet, the half-cent sales tax administered by SANDAG to support transportation projects in the San Diego region. TransNet will fund just over half of the project, with the remaining funding being provided by a grant from the Federal Transit Administration, and advocated for by U.S. Congressman Scott Peters.

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