Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Tucson to United Streetcar: Build seven

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Tucson, Ariz., Monday contractually became the second U.S. city to order streetcars from Clackamas, Ore.-based United Streetcar, LLC. Tucson will receive seven cars under a $196.8 million contract for use on its planned 3.9-mile route, with delivery to be completed by 2013.

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United Streetcar, a wholly owned subsidiary of Oregon Iron Works, Inc., last August signed a $20 million contract for six streetcars with (virtual) hometown Portland, Ore., using designs based on Czech Republic-based Inekon Co.; the latter supplied Portland’s initial three streetcars, and has signed a licensing agreement with United Streetcar to provide the propulsion systems for the additional rolling stock.

Though anticipated for a year, the contract with Tucson gives United Streetcar potential credibility to provide additional equipment sought by other U.S. cities, such as Cincinnati, by leveraging “Buy America” requirements. OIW launched United Streetcar in 2005.

Last February Tucson received a $63 million grant from the Department of Transportation to help fund the line, which will connect the University of Arizona campus with downtown. In May 2006, Tucson voters approved local funding for the project through a half-cent sales tax increase.