April 13, 2012

Ariz. breaks ground on $197M streetcar project

Tucson, Ariz. broke ground on a new 3.9-mile modern streetcar line project that will directly connect thousands of commuters with Tucson’s major downtown employers, health care facilities, the University of Arizona and regional attractions.

The Tucson streetcar line will serve a population of more than 85,000 people who live and work within walking distance of 17 planned stops. The service also fills a gap by offering direct, high-capacity transit connections between downtown Tucson, the University of Arizona, the Arizona Health Sciences Center and points in between. Travel times between the University District and downtown are expected to improve significantly over current bus service, once the streetcar line is operational.

The streetcar project is expected to create an estimated 1,200 construction-related jobs. Oregon Iron Works Inc./United Streetcar of Portland, Ore., a U.S. manufacturer of modern streetcar vehicles, has been awarded the contract to build the cars.

The U.S. Department of Transportation has committed $78.7 million to the $196.6 million project thus far, including $63 million in TIGER funds awarded in 2010 and $15.7 million from other Transportation Department funding sources.

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