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Insights El Paso streetcar | Revitalizing a community’s heritage and economy

image of the el paso street car

Preserving our history

The El Paso Streetcar Project is a 4.8-mile route that will connect key businesses, commercial, medical, entertainment, and government institutions. The service started in 1882 with mule-drawn trolleys, and by the turn of the century had become fully electric. In the 50s it was using 17 iconic Presidents’ Conference Committee streetcars to transport hundreds of passengers across El Paso City, and into neighbouring Mexico. The system was discontinued in 1974 due to low demand – and the conference cars were left out in the desert to rust.

Opportunities to succeed on a complex project

In 2014, when the Texas Depart of Transportation (TxDOT) allocated $97 million to revitalize the El Paso streetcars, we were tasked with providing project and program management services to make it happen. Our teams worked successfully with local businesses, institutions and neighbourhoods to keep communication open and to minimize disruptions. We also achieved extensive coordination with TxDOT and their $800 million Border West Expressway project nearby.

Further project achievements

Our project team laid new tracks, built a new maintenance and storage facility, as well as restored six of the original Presidents’ Conference Committee streetcars to working order. Each car was painted in one of three vintage color schemes dating back to the 1950s.

Transforming the future of El Paso

We are passionate about our work because it makes a difference. This project has been a key to El Paso reasserting itself as one of the American Southwest’s preeminent cities. It is linking hundreds of millions of dollars in public and private investment that have poured into Downtown El Paso and surrounding areas in the last decade. The new route runs from the University of Texas El Paso in the North, to South El Paso Street shopping corridor at the US/Mexico border. Essential to the economic future of the city, the route links two international bridges that bring in tens of thousands of shoppers every year from Ciudad Juarez in Mexico.

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