Thursday, February 18, 2010

Farley’s advocacy for street car in Tucson helps land federal stimulus grant

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – House Democratic Policy Leader Steve Farley, who has advocated for nearly a decade to build a sustainable public transportation system in Tucson, was pleased to learn Wednesday that a federal stimulus grant will complete Tucson’s Modern Streetcar starter rail line.

President Obama’s federal stimulus act awarded Tucson $63 million for the Modern Streetcar Starter Light Rail System. This is the third largest project grant in the nation from the TIGER program, a federal grant program for transportation.

“This project will create hundreds of quality jobs this year when we need them the most and thousands more once the line opens in less than two years,” Farley said. “This also is great news for local businesses and entrepreneurs who see the potential in setting up shop along the streetcar route along with those who are already have businesses in the area. This is the catalyst that will make downtown our regional economic engine.”

Tucson’s streetcar project has been in the works for more than nine years. It started with Farley’s creation of the community group Tucson for Sensible Transportation in 2001. The group grew from five members to more than 1,600 members in one year and was active in developing and advocating for comprehensive transportation plans for Tucson. Farley was a key leader in the creation of the Regional Transportation Authority Plan and its approval by voters in 2006, which provided $88 million in local matching funds for the Modern Streetcar that qualified Tucson for the federal money.

Farley continued his work with the City of Tucson, Congressman Raul Grijalva, and citizen groups to secure the federal grant.

“Our Modern Streetcar will not only revolutionize the way Tucson residents get around town, but also it will increase our quality of life in the central city for decades to come,” Farley said.

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood will make a formal public announcement today at 10 a.m. in Downtown Tucson’s Historic Depot at Pastor Plaza, 400 E. Toole Ave., Tucson.

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