It was desire and passion that drove Raul Grijalva to raise the initial seed money for the Sun Link Streetcar Project. Grijalva, along with so many others, longed for the revitalization of Downtown. Grijalva put thought into words which lead to action by enlisting Federal Aid early on in the project.
Just a freshman in Congress, he utilized the seed monies to propel the Sun Link Streetcar Project to “shove ready”. So when Tiger Grant Funds became available, Tucson received the lion’s share; a record: 63 million dollars. Though we were in a “The Great Recession,” Grijalva knew it was imperative that the project be far enough along to be eligible for federal funding.
To the average pedestrian it may have seemed the entire project was doomed to be derailed. However, the decade long project seems well worth the wait. Consider the zero carbon footprint and total zero carbon monoxide.
According to Michael Barton, Vice President of HDR, a consulting company overseeing the project, “This was one of the fastest federally funded projects, from start to finish, I have ever seen completed.” One does take pause, when considering the vast amount of money raised and the sear logistics involved.
The electric Streetcar is an easy way to travel, besides, it’s fun. With extensions on both ends, the new line runs from the University Medical Center, through the U of A campus, down University Blvd., then Fourth Ave. and through downtown to west of I-10. There you will see a special plaque dedicate to Raul Grijalva.
Has Downtown been revitalized? The Downtown Tucson Partnership reports that over 1.5 Billion has been invested by both the private and public sector. See for yourself as you glide along in style.
How to Ride
Purchase a 1-Day Ticket at any Sun Link Stop. The vending machine accepts exact change, Visa or MasterCard. The cost is $4.00. Or just use your Sun Go Pass. All it talks is a one swipe and you’re riding the rails.
Made in the USA
It has been well over 50 years since the United States manufactured Electric Streetcars. Tucson is the first city in America to have these new modern Streetcars.
By CJ Heileman. CJ comes to Arizona Bilingual Newspaper as an Associate Publisher. For the past 20 years, CJ has written as well as published articles and magazines, including an airline magazine for Midwest Express Airlines.
Ding Ding Ding
Ring in the New Year with a ride on the recently restored: Lisbon Trolley, Number 524.
Re-fitted to to accommodate the wider Sun Link tracks, it’s still an authentic 1920’s experience (no air conditioning-just big airy windows). The entire restoration as well as the operation is solely an volunteer effort by the Old Pueblo Trolley associations and is completely funded through donations.