The long-awaited Sun Link Streetcar made its trek from Oregon to Tucson at the end of August, but officially was unveiled to the public Sept. 6. In a ceremony hosted by Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild, Streetcar 101 sat on the tracks at the new Sun Link Operations and Maintenance facility in Downtown Tucson, as hundreds of people took pictures and heard speeches from officials involved in the project over the years.
Streetcar construction generated 500 construction jobs and $800 million in public/private investment along the 3.9 mile route between Downtown Tucson and the University of Arizona. That investment is projected to create 1,500 long-term jobs.
“This has been a complex public works project – possibly the single most complex project the city has undertaken,” Rothschild said. “I want to thank and congratulate city staff – particularly the City Manager’s Office, the Tucson Department of Transportation, the city’s Procurement Department, and the city’s Planning and Development Services Department – as well as our contractors and consultants.”
State Senator Steve Farley, a longtime advocate for transit and transit-oriented development, said the streetcar is the result of people putting aside their differences.
Former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords toured the maintenance facility with her husband, Mark Kelly. Giffords was a backer of the project, which also had the support of U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva.
Co-managed by the City of Tucson and the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA), Streetcar 101 is undergoing testing along the route. Seven more of the American-made streetcars still need to be delivered and tested before the line goes into operation with passengers next summer.
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