Memphis, Tennessee/Medical Center Extension

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Medical Center Extension


(November 2000)


The Memphis Area Transit Authority (MATA), in cooperation with the City of Memphis, is implementing a 2.0-mile light rail transit (LRT) extension to the Main Street Trolley/Riverfront Loop village rail system. The Memphis Medical Center Extension will expand the central business district (CBD) rail circulation system to serve the Medical Center area east of the CBD. The project will operate on street in mixed traffic and will connect with the Main Street Trolley, sharing a lane with automobile traffic on Madison Avenue between Main Street and Cleveland Street. At the eastern terminus, near Cleveland Street, a bus transfer point and a small park-and-ride lot will be constructed to accommodate transfers with buses and cars. At the western terminus, existing stations on Main Street near Madison Avenue will be utilized for transfers to/from the Main Street Trolley/Riverfront Loop system. Six new stations will be located along the route. The line will be designed to accommodate light rail vehicles, but vintage rail cars would be utilized until a proposed regional LRT line is implemented and a fleet of modern LRT vehicles is acquired. The project is the last segment of the downtown rail circulation system as well as the first segment of a regional light rail line.

The total capital cost of the 2.0-mile line with six stations, renovation of four historic trolley vehicles, right of way acquisition and construction of a park-and-ride facility is estimated at $74.6 million (escalated dollars). The Section 5309 New Starts share for the project is $59.7 million.


A Major Investment Study/Environmental Assessment (MIS/EA), resulting in the selection of a trolley service extension as the Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA), was completed in June 1997. A Supplemental EA was prepared to document proposed changes to the preferred alternative. FTA issued a Finding of No Significant Impact for the Medical Center Rail Extension on April 7, 2000. MATA and FTA entered into a Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA) in November 2000, which committed $59.67 million in Section 5309 New Starts funding. Per the FFGA, the Revenue Operating Date is March 16, 2004.

TEA-21 Section 3030(a)(43) authorizes the Memphis Medical Center Extension for final design and construction. Through FY 2001, Congress has appropriated $15.82 million in Section 5309 New Starts funds for this project, with an additional $0.5 million appropriated to the project, but not included in the scope of the FFGA.

Locally Proposed Financing Plan

(Reported in $YOE)

Proposed Source of Funds Total Funding
Appropriations to Date
Federal: Section 5309 New Starts $59.67 $15.82 million appropriated through FY 2001
State: Tennessee DOT $7.46 N/A
Local: City of Memphis $7.46 N/A
Total: $74.58

Note: An additional $0.5 million was appropriated to the project in prior years, but was not included in the FFGA scope. This amount brings the total appropriated to $16.34 million. Totals may not add due to rounding.

Map of Memphis Medical Center Extension expanding the central business district (CBD) rail circulation system to serve the Medical Center area east of the CBD.