Tucson’s “Desire Named Streetcar” is another boondoggle by the City administration. The City has been denied a $19 million grant from the Federal Transportation Administration to help build its modern streetcar, leaving the project $26 million short.
According to a story in the Arizona Daily Star:
The gap would be even larger if the city hadn’t shifted $10.4 million from Tucson Water ratepayers into the streetcar budget in May to pay for waterline changes along the 3.9-mile route from the University of Arizona to downtown and the west side.
In addition, expected streetcar funding includes $650,000 from Pima County sewer system ratepayers – a fact that was unknown to county officials before Friday.
Surprise! How many other surprises await taxpayers?
The concept of a modern streetcar is just a frivolous show-piece that would take dozens of riders from the University to the downtown “phantom hotel” and to a vacant lot on the west side of the Santa Cruz River that may, some decade, have museums and other attractions.
If the City is determined to have a show piece, why not have dedicated bus service instead of the streetcar? The buses could even carry a special paint job to distinguish them from the ordinary Sun Tran system. Buses are more versatile and would not require expensive relocation of water and sewer lines, nor the laying of rail, and routes could easily be changed to reflect changing need and opportunities.
Now, especially, is not a time for the City to waste money on such frivolous projects.