Thursday, January 27, 2011

Grijalva Congratulates Tucson on Finalization of $63 Million Federal Streetcar Grant

Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva congratulated the City of Tucson on the finalization of its $63 million federal grant toward the construction of the Modern Streetcar Project, which included final signing of the award by Department of Transportation (DOT) authorities. The step means the city can now spend the money, which DOT will fully reimburse, at any time.

The money, which formally comes from the Federal Transit Administration, was awarded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act's TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic
Recovery) program in February 2010. The project is expected to create at least 2,850 jobs over its life span, according to the city's application for the grant.

The funds will be combined with $87.7 million from the Regional Transit Authority (RTA) and a fiscal year 2010 $4 million federal earmark championed by Rep. Grijalva to fund the streetcar project, one of less
than 40 in operation or construction nationwide.

The planned initial route would run from University Medical Center through the downtown area to a planned residential and commercial development area just west of I-10. The RTA has found that approximately
10 percent of Tucsonans "live, work or attend school within walking distance of the location of the streetcar," making it economically beneficial and environmentally friendly for as much of the population as funding can

"This is an excellent way to leverage federal dollars," Grijalva said of the grant. "The city will be repaid several times over through increased transportation efficiency, expanded commercial access, pollution reduction and downtown revitalization. This is exactly the kind of Recovery Act project that represents a vital step in rebuilding the economy."