Skip to Content
Streetsblog USA home
Streetsblog USA home
Log In
Streetcars

Tucson Breaks Ground on Streetcar, Investment Already Following

4:55 PM EDT on April 13, 2012

Streetcars are back, and Tucson, Arizona is leading the way.

This southwestern city broke ground this week on the Sun Link Streetcar, the first new streetcar system built with federal funding in more than 60 years.

US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood was on hand for the ground breaking of the Tucson Streetcar this week. Photo: ##http://fastlane.dot.gov/2012/04/tucson-streetcar.html## The Fast Lane##

The $200 million, 3.9-mile project will connect downtown Tucson with the University of Arizona and the university's medical center. The project received $60 million in federal funding through a TIGER grant. The remaining funding was provided by a portion of a voter-approved half-cent sales tax.

That investment appears to be paying off already. The project has already led to $400 million worth of spending commitments along the corridor, according to a report from US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, who was in Tucson for a groundbreaking ceremony earlier this week.

"Downtown's starting to come back to life," said Michael McKisson, founder of local blog Tucson Velo. "A lot of businesses have moved down there to be by the streetcar track."

McKisson said the project has its detractors -- mainly those who think the project is too expensive or serves too limited a geographic area. But he added future plans call for another five-mile extension, further out toward the suburbs.

"Most people, they probably understand overall that it will be a net gain," he said. "Some people just overall don’t like change."

More than 100,000 people live within walking distance of the loop, according to LaHood.

This is likely to be the first of many streetcar groundbreakings in the coming years. The Community Streetcar Coalition, a group that advocates for streetcars, lists 20 cities that are planning systems.

Image: ##http://www.streetcarcoalition.org/node/2## Community Streetcar Coalition##

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog USA

NYC Debuts Public E-Bike Charging for Delivery Workers

Finally, they’re taking charge! The city’s first public e-bike charging station opened in Cooper Square on Thursday — the start of an overdue six-month pilot that is part of a “Charge Safe Ride Safe Action Plan” for delivery workers that Mayor Adams announced last year.

March 1, 2024

Friday’s Headlines Have Questions

What's an optimal rebate to get people to buy e-bikes without wasting money on those who were going to buy one anyway?

March 1, 2024

To Recruit Transit Workers, More Than Just Higher Pay Is Needed

Labor shortages continue threatening public transit systems, and a new report adds another layer to the conversation.

February 29, 2024

Talking Headways Podcast: Streets for Skateboards

Aaron Breetwor on skateboards for transportation and designing streets for safer skateboarding.

February 29, 2024

Agencies Need to Use Federal Funding to Buy Land for Transit Oriented Development

Transit agencies do not prioritize transit-adjacent housing development often because they lack funding to acquire land.

February 29, 2024
See all posts