|Termini||Arizona Health Sciences Center
|Stations||22 (17 per direction)|
|Operator(s)||RATP Dev McDonald Transit|
|Rolling stock||United Streetcar 200 (8 cars)|
|Line length||3.9 miles (6.3 km)|
Sun Link, also known as the Tucson Modern Streetcar, is a single-line streetcar system under construction in Tucson, Arizona with service scheduled to begin July 2014. The system's 3.9-mile route will connect the Arizona Health Sciences Center (including University Medical Center), the University of Arizona campus, the Main Gate and 4th Avenue shopping and entertainment districts, Downtown Tucson, the Tucson Convention Center, and the Mercado District under development west of Interstate 10. The system's projected cost of $196 million is being met through a combination of local funding sources and federal grants.
In May 2006 Pima County voters approved a $2.1 billion, 20-year regional transportation plan which included $75 million toward construction of a modern streetcar and an additional $12.7 million toward its operation. In December 2010, a $63 million Federal TIGER grant was awarded to the City of Tucson, meeting most of the remaining funding gap and making the project a reality. An additional $6 million of federal funding was obtained through the Federal Transit Administration's New Starts program. Funding has also come from utilities for relocation and improvements along the streetcar route, most significantly $10.6 million from Tucson Water.
Construction began in April 2012 and is scheduled to be completed in summer 2013. A $56 million contract for removal of existing roadway, utility relocation, installation of track, resurfacing, and construction of the system's 21 covered, accessible stops was awarded to Old Pueblo Trackworks, a joint venture of Granite Construction and RailWorks Track Systems, in March 2012.
Work is being carried out in two phases. Phase 1 addressed straight sections of the route east of the Congress and Granada stop and required rolling closures of sections of Congress Street, Broadway Boulevard, 4th Avenue, University Boulevard, 2nd Street, the Warren Avenue underpass, and Helen Street. Phase 2 began in November 2012 and includes all work west of the convention center, corner sections requiring fabrication of curved track elements, and continued work on Broadway and the Warren underpass.
Sun Link will maintain a fleet of eight United Streetcar 200s with up to six cars in operation at once. An initial $26 million order for seven cars was placed in June 2010. The eighth car was ordered for an additional $3.6 million in July 2012 in order to satisfy FTA requirements for a second spare.
The United Streetcar 200 is 66 feet long, double-ended (bi-directional), low-floor, and all-electric, with 3 articulated sections. The center section floor is at platform height with two double-door entrances on each side. Each side has a third door located behind the operator cab. The streetcar has a maximum capacity of 169 passengers (29 seated and 140 standing) and a maximum speed of 43.5 mph (70 km/h). The United Streetcar 200 is largely identical to the "100" model built for the Portland Streetcar system, the only significant difference being that the 200 will be equipped with an upgraded air-conditioning system.
Delays in production of the streetcars have pushed Sun Link's projected start of service from a forecast of late 2013 at the start of construction to July 2014 as of the March 2013 FTA Quarterly Report. Tucson officials notified United Streetcar in May 2013 of their intention to assess damages of $250 per day for vehicles delivered after contractual deadlines up to a maximum penalty of $2.9 million.
Maintenance and Storage Facility (MSF)
The Maintenance and Storage Facility or MSF for the Sun Link system is under construction west of 5th Avenue at 8th Street and west of the location of the carbarn used by Old Pueblo Trolley. Construction of the MSF began in May 2012 after completion of the 8th Street Drainage Project.
Cushing Street extension and the Luis G. Gutierrez Bridge
The 320-foot Luis G. Gutierrez Bridge will take streetcar, automobile, bicycle, and pedestrian traffic across the Santa Cruz on Cushing Street, which was extended from the I-10 frontage road to Avenida del Convento in 2012. The bridge opened to pedestrian and bicycle traffic in fall 2012.
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- "Sun Link Tucson Streetcar Project FTA Quarterly Review". March 28, 2013. p. 10.
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