The Arizona Branch of the American Public Works Association (APWA) named the Tucson streetcar the public works project of the year at its annual conference today in Tucson.
The $196 million project, co-managed by the City of Tucson and the Regional Transportation Authority, launched service on July 25 with more than 60,000 people riding the streetcar during the three-day weekend of free rides.
The project was recognized for the same honor in April by the Southern Arizona APWA Branch.
The streetcar project is considered to be Tucson’s largest and most complex transportation construction project in city history. The streetcar system operates on a 3.9-mile route between the downtown area and the University of Arizona campus. The project received $75 million in RTA funding toward capital costs, including eight streetcars, and will receive another $12 million in RTA funding toward streetcar operations. Federal dollars, including a $63 million Transportation Investment
Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant, the largest of its kind awarded to a single project at the time, and local dollars cover the remaining project costs. The streetcar project is part of the $2.1 billion RTA plan, which was approved by Pima County voters in May 2006.
Key successes of the streetcar project included a high level of cooperation among all partners, the creation of more than 500 construction-related jobs, economic impact of more than $800 million invested along the route, installation of $19 million in needed infrastructure improvements, extensive outreach to the public as well as businesses along the route, emphasis on Made in America jobs and materials for the project, and collaboration among various populations and neighborhoods along the streetcar route.
Two major accomplishments included the ability to successfully work with multiple contractors on construction of the streetcar project and on ancillary projects supporting the streetcar, as well as maintaining access and helping to ensure security to critical government facilities.