November 23, 2009

Ariz.'s Sun Tran unveils 'green' transit facility



The Regional Transportation Authority (RTA), City of Tucson and Sun Tran held a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the unveiling of Sun Tran’s new bus storage and maintenance facility.

This is Tucson’s first “green” transit facility built to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) specifications. This facility was built to store and maintain Sun Tran’s expanding fleet of buses and to allow the agency to continue adding service and resources funded by the RTA.

LEED is an internationally recognized green building certification system developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). LEED focuses on using less water, energy and resources, while creating less waste throughout the construction process. 

In 2006 the City of Tucson’s mayor and council adopted LEED Silver standards for all new city-owned buildings and renovations over 5,000 square feet. Sun Tran’s Northwest Facility is LEED Silver registered, which is only the third city-owned facility to be completed using the USGBC specifications for green building.

Specifically, this facility features solar panels for power generation, the use of natural lighting to save energy, the use of reclaimed water and water efficient features to reduce water consumption, and a comfortable state-of-the-art work space for employees.

When fully built out, Sun Tran’s new Northwest Facility will have the capacity to operate and maintain 250 buses. The current Park Avenue facility, only designed for 150 buses, now maintains 230 buses in the fleet. Sun Tran is currently operating out of both facilities until the Northwest Facility’s 25 acres are fully built-out in mid-2011.

This project has been designed and constructed in three phases. Phase I, $8 million funded by the FTA and 1994 City of Tucson bonds, included the completion of Sun Tran Boulevard and the fueling facility completed in October 2005.

Phase II involved building the maintenance and operations buildings capable of operating up to 150 buses with funding of $32 million provided by the RTA and FTA. Phase II includes the state-of-the-art facility with 17 bus bays to repair and maintain the fleet, a fare retrieval area, bus wash and dispatch center. Operations began at this new facility on Nov. 15.

Phase III, currently being designed, will expand the maintenance building and construct an administration building for regional transit operations with $16 million in funding from American Recovery and Reinvestment Act stimulus funds. Construction is scheduled to begin in mid-2010 and is anticipated to be completed in mid-2011.

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