After more than two years of work, the Camino Real Regional Mobility Authority (CRRMA) has completed its construction activities on the El Paso Streetcar Project.
These activities included the construction of a maintenance and storage facility, 4.8 miles of track, various street reconstructions, system fixtures, traction power substations, overhead contact system lines/poles and communication systems. Construction was managed by the CRRMA and performed by Paso del Norte Trackworks which is a joint venture of Granite Construction Company and RailWorks Track Systems, Inc.
“Turning over this newly constructed project infrastructure to the City of El Paso is a key way marker on the decades-long road to bring streetcar service back to El Paso,” said Raymond Telles, executive director of the CRRMA. “As the CRRMA’s role in this project nears its end, I would like to commend the dedicated men and women who worked so hard to get us to this point. I would also like to sincerely thank residents, businesses and institutions along the route who endured a lengthy construction project which was in many cases right in their front yard. I believe that this system and the long term positive impact it will have on our community will be well worth it.”
With construction completed and the shift to operations well underway, the CRRMA is turning over most communication responsibilities to the City of El Paso including the El Paso Streetcar Facebook page and Instagram profile, e-newsletter and project hotline. The CRRMA will continue to provide updates on the remaining streetcar delivery, testing and restoration work.
The movement to restore streetcar service began in the mid-1970s, shortly after El Paso City Lines cancelled its final streetcar service between El Paso and Juárez.
Since then, numerous community activists, city leaders and state officials have worked on various initiatives to bring the streetcar service back. These activities eventually led to the completion of a feasibility study in 2010 which paved the way for then-City Representative Steve Ortega to lead an initiative of the El Paso City Council to fund the design plans for the program in 2012 and then-Chairman Ted Houghton of the Texas Transportation Commission to allocate $97 million to this project in 2014.
The CRRMA is a regional mobility authority (RMA) whose mission is to assist in the establishment of a comprehensive transportation system to directly benefit the traveling public within the El Paso region through the development of additional transportation alternatives.
Other projects involving the CRRMA include the Sun Cycle bike share program, the I-10/Loop 375 Americas Interchange Project in East El Paso, the aesthetic improvements at I-10 and Airway and El Paso County’s 2013 Comprehensive Mobility Plan which includes more than a dozen transportation projects around the county.
“Unique projects like this one are why the CRRMA exists,” Telles said. “When the Texas legislature passed laws allowing for the creation of RMAs, it was with the clear understanding that meeting Texas’ mobility challenges necessitated innovative solutions and a regional approach.”
The CRRMA’s work on the vehicles will continue. Streetcar restoration work is being performed by Brookville Equipment Corporation. To date, three of six restored vintage PCC streetcars have been accepted by the City with two additional vehicles currently undergoing final testing in El Paso. The remaining vehicle is scheduled to return to the City before the end of the year.
While this project was managed by the CRRMA, streetcar operations and maintenance activities will be managed by the City of El Paso’s Sun Metro Mass Transit Department.