San Juan, Puerto Rico/Tren Urbano

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Tren Urbano

San Juan, Puerto Rico

(November 1998)


The Puerto Rico Department of Transportation and Public Works (DTPW), through its Highway and Transportation Authority (PRHTA), is constructing a 10.7-mile (17.2 km) double-track guideway between Bayamon Centro and the Sagrado Corazon area of Santurce in San Juan. Approximately 40 percent of the alignment is at or near grade. The remainder, aside from a short below-grade segment in the Centro Medico area as well as an underground segment through Rio Piedras, is generally elevated above roadway rights-of-way. The project includes 16 stations and a vehicle and trackway maintenance/storage facility.

The original capital cost for the project as specified in the Full Funding Grant Agreement totals $1.250 billion (escalated dollars). The latest cost estimate total $1.550 billion. The Tren Urbano project is expected to carry 113,300 riders per day in 2010.


In 1993, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) selected Tren Urbano as one of the Turnkey Demonstration Projects under the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA). The Tren Urbano project is being constructed and will be operated under a turnkey procurement in order to expedite the implementation of the project and to develop the institutional capability necessary for its operation.

The Tren Urbano Phase 1 environmental review process was completed in November 1995 and included 14 stations. The alignment design allowed for the future addition of two stations, one in Rio Piedras and one in Hato Rey. A Record of Decision (ROD) was issued in February 1996. In March 1996, FTA entered into a Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA) for the Tren Urbano project providing a Federal commitment of $307.40 million in Section 5309 New Start funds out of a total project cost of $1.250 billion.

An additional $4.96 million in Section 5309 New Start funds not included in the FFGA was awarded in January 1995. The remaining funding for the project would be provided by local revenues from the Puerto Rico Highway and Transportation Authority (PRHTA) and flexible and formula funds. All operating costs, as well as debt service on PRHTA bonds, would be paid as part of the PRHTA annual budget, established in accordance with standard PRHTA budget procedures.

Subsequent to the FFGA, three environmental assessments were prepared which revised the alignment at the Villa Nevarez station and added new stations, in Rio Piedras at the University of Puerto Rico, and in Hato Rey at Domenech Street. Findings of No Significant Impact (FONSI) by the FTA were issued for these three environmental assessments in November 1996, February 1997, and July 1997, respectively.

The Project has entered the construction phase of development. During 1996 and 1997, seven design-build contracts were awarded for different segments of the Tren Urbano Phase 1 system. The Systems Test Track and Turnkey contract, awarded in August 1996, provided for the purchase of rolling stock, design and installation of all systemwide components, construction of one of the civil segments, and operation and maintenance of Tren Urbano Phase 1 for an initial period of five years.

TEA-21 Section 3030(a)(81) authorizes the Tren Urbano project for final design and construction. Through FY 1999, Congress has appropriated $53.23 million in Section 5309 New Start funds for the project, of which $48.27 million is included in the scope of the FFGA.

PRHTA estimates that total Phase I project costs have increased to $1.55 billion (escalated dollars) reflecting locally approved enhancements, which will be funded from local sources.

Locally Proposed Financing Plan

(Reported in $YOE)

Proposed Source of Funds Total Funding
Appropriations to Date
Federal: Section 5309 New Starts FFGA Amount $307.4 $48.27 million appropriated through FY 1999
Local: $942.9


Local: Additional Local Funding Needs $300.0


Total: $1,550.3

Note: An additional $4.96 million was obligated to the project in prior years, but was not included in the FFGA scope, bringing the total appropriated to $53.23 million. Totals may not add due to rounding.

[Tren Urbano Map (PDF)]