City breaks ground on Modern Streetcar
Sponsored by

Note: This story is more than 3 years old.

City breaks ground on Modern Streetcar

Supporters tout Sun Link as job-maker

Construction of Tucson's Modern Streetcar is formally underway following a ground-breaking ceremony at the University of Arizona's BIO5 research center Thursday morning.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood attended the ceremony as an opportunity to call on his fellow Republicans in the House to pass the transportation budget so that "Americans can get back to work."

LaHood also called for the community to consider including former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords name in the project, calling her an instrumental person in getting the project started.

Other VIPs including Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild, Rep. Raúl Grijalva, D-Ariz., Rep. Ed Pastor, D-Ariz.,  and Oro Valley Mayor Satish Hiremath were on hand to praise the $196 million project's potential for job creation and regional sustainable growth.

The streetcar, named Sun Link, is part of the $2.1 billion Regional Transit Authority plan, a measure passed in 2006 to expand transportation infrastructure in the Tucson metropolitan area.

According to the project's website, the RTA is contributing $88 million of the program's cost, with private contributions amounting to some $18 million.

The remainder of the construction costs are from federal funds, including a $63 million TIGER grant. The RTA has also applied for a $26 million TIGER II grant.

LaHood said that the Tucson grant is the largest yet made by TIGER.

Thanks to our donors and sponsors for their support of local independent reporting. Join Marie Olson, Access Tucson, and Margie Wrye and contribute today!

Rothschild called on the crowd of 200 people to ensure that the program stays on track.

"We need to stick to the plan, and we need to stay current," he said.

The project will serve an estimated 100,000 people, according to the RTA, in the university/Downtown corridor over a 3.9 mile section of track running from the BIO5 Institute near North Campbell Avenue and East Speedway Boulevard and just west of East Congress Street and Interstate 10.

Major construction on the project is underway and the street car is scheduled to carry passengers by late 2013.

- 30 -
have your say   

2 comments on this story

Apr 12, 2012, 2:28 pm
-0 +3

Well, Springfield only got hustled out of $3m for their boondoggle monorail. If you don’t want to count grant money as cash out of our pocket (which it really is), this is costing us $88 million from the RTA. How many potholes can be filled with $88 million?

We have GOT to stop this people!

Apr 12, 2012, 2:23 pm
-0 +2

This is very sad. While I agree it’s far from scientific…I do read a lot of commenters on the internet from Tucson who opine about the streetcar. My rough estimate is that for every one person who supports it, there’s roughly four or five that oppose it. It’s a crying shame that the City Council is just going to do whatever they’re going to do, knowing that the electorate in this town will never hold them accountable for anything.

And the supporters of the streetcar say that we voted for it. I remember the RTA on the ballot (I voted against it because it did not include plans for a crosstown freeway, and any traffic plan without a crosstown freeway has zero realistic change at succeeding in relieving traffic congestion in this town). I do remember mention of this…but it wasn’t a streetcar, it was a light rail, and it was implied that the thing would run actually across town, and not just be confined to the preferentially-treated Downtown/U of A area. So, that considered I am going to go on record and state that this streetcar does not have a voter mandate. I am also going to go on record and state that the streetcar will never be self-supporting, and the taxes it will take to run it will exceed the supposed increase in tax revenues from development along the streetcar route. There is nothing a streetcar can do that rubber-on-pavement can’t, except waste more money, time, and other resources.

I’d like anyone reading this to watch the Simpsons episode “Marge vs. The Monorail” from season 4. Here’s the wiki link about the episode…

Sorry, we missed your input...

You must be logged in or register to comment

Click image to enlarge

Will Seberger/

Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild addresses 200 people gathered Thursday at the Tucson Modern Streetcar groundbreaking ceremony at the University of Arizona's BIO5 Institute.