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DOT Celebrates Opening of Tucson Streetcar Line

July 29th, 2014
Tucson's new Sun Link Streetcar line. Photo: courtesy of Federal Transit Administration.

Tucson's new Sun Link Streetcar line. Photo: courtesy of Federal Transit Administration.

Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Chief Counsel Dorval Carter joined Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild and other local officials to celebrate the grand opening of the Sun Link Streetcar line in Tucson, Ariz., a four-mile line that will expand regional transit options.

The new line connects downtown Tucson with the University of Arizona and the University of Arizona Medical Center and offers connections to Sun Tran bus service and the University’s Cat Tran shuttle service.

“The new Sun Link Streetcar line is a great addition to Tucson’s growing transit network, connecting residents and students with work, school, and other ladders of opportunity, while also spurring tremendous economic development that creates jobs in the city,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “This Administration would like to build more projects like this one in other communities across the country, but we need Congress’ help to pass a long-term funding bill to meet the rising demand for more and better transportation choices.”

The Downtown Tucson Partnership estimates the project created approximately 500 construction jobs and has generated roughly $1.5 billion in public-private investments along the corridor.

“Roughly 100,000 people live within a half-mile of one of the new Sun Link streetcar stations, and that’s great news for everyone looking for an opportunity to leave their car at home and take transit instead,” said Carter. “We must continue to invest in transportation projects like this one that help the local economy to grow and give working families a chance to succeed.”

Tucson’s eight zero-emission streetcars were manufactured in Portland, Ore., by United Streetcar, a U.S.-owned manufacturer. United Streetcar is a beneficiary of the federal government’s Buy America regulation, which requires at least 60 percent of the content of transit vehicles to be produced domestically.

The streetcar line was funded in part with a $63 million DOT Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant. In addition to the DOT TIGER funds, FTA invested $19.7 million in other DOT funds toward the $196.5 million Sun Link Streetcar project.

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