City of Tucson gets ok to begin streetcar project

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- The City of Tucson got the official "green light" to begin construction on a modern streetcar project downtown Thursday.

The Regional Transportation Authority and city will pay for the project in part with a $63 million federal grant. That money will mainly go toward building a nearly four-mile rail system. Over the next several weeks the RTA and city will take bids four separate construction contracts. The first phase of building will begin in April or May, in the middle of the Santa Cruz river.

"I believe we're going to see 3,000 additional jobs over a three year period and it might end up being more than that," said Mayor Bob Walkup.

Mayor Walkup expects the first streetcar to be riding the rails by mid 2012.