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Rail News: Passenger Rail

Tucson begins testing new streetcar system

The Sun Link Streetcar, which will be the first modern streetcar system in Tucson, Ariz., has begun daytime and nighttime test runs on a portion of its 3.9-mile track, city and Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) officials announced last week.

Sun Link's eight streetcars were manufactured by Oregon Iron Works/United Streetcar, and are among the first streetcar vehicles to be produced in the United States in 60 years, according to RTA's website.

City officials began planning the system in 2004. Construction began in April 2012 and service is expected to launch in summer 2014. The system will connect downtown Tucson, the University of Arizona, the 4th Avenue and Main Gate business districts, and Westside redevelopment district.

The streetcar's funding sources include a $63 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grant awarded in 2010; $75 million from the RTA; $11 million from public utilities; $3.2 million from The Gadsden Co.; and $26.6 million from the city.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 10/8/2013