Apr 13, 2012 1:15 AM
TUCSON - A groundbreaking ceremony was held Thursday for the Modern Streetcar Project, which has now been named SunLink.
Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood was on hand for the celebration at the University of Arizona. SunLink will connect the UA with downtown Tucson. Construction is expected to last 475 days, with SunLink being operational by late 2013.
Construction is expected to create 500 local jobs and at least 1,500 jobs in the long term. Local leaders say the streetcar will be available to students and citizens while bringing new industry into the downtown area.
LaHood said he recognizes construction will create delays for people and businesses but he urges the project offers a long term gain for the community.
"The jobs that will be created when people come in to the downtown area, whether they be students or other people, they will be spending money," he said. "This is a job creator. And it's also an economic engine for the community. This is a win-win for the community, there's no downside to this."
SunLink received $63 million in federal Tiger funds for the project.