Tucsonans celebrated the debut of the modern streetcar in a BIG way this past weekend– by riding it en masse. Following multiple ribbon-cutting ceremonies along the route on Friday, July 25, 2014, 17,000 Tucsonans rode the SunLink streetcar on the first day alone.
A total of 60,000 people total rode the streetcar for free over the three-day weekend and flooded special events, restaurants, bars, and retail venues along the route. If social media is any indication, the well-organized celebration was a smashing success, with hundreds of smiling streetcar riders posting Facebook selfies, Tweets, and random video clips of the festivities and their experiences on the streetcar, at the pop-up downtown beach, or at the multiple events. The city is to be commended for orchestrating a complicated roll-out of a new mass transit service. From ice-cold water bottles and helpful volunteers at all of the stops to a pop-up beach party off of Congress, every detail was well planned and well executed.
The modern streetcar was part of the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) vote in 2006. The RTA package included something for everyone– road widening for the sprawl promoters and bus pullouts, improved bike paths, and the streetcar for the sustainability activists.
But the streetcar is far more than a mass transit service. Here are the top 10 reasons why the modern streetcar (and mass transit) are good for Tucson– and good for you.
Posted in Baja Arizona, Economics, Energy, environment, Infrastructure, Labor, Pamela Powers Hannley, Taxes, Transportation, Tucson
Tagged Images, RTA, Steve Farley, streetcar, SunLink, SunTran, sustainability, top ten reasons
With only three working days before the House’s August recess is set to begin, GOP leaders are under pressure form their rank and file to tackle the border crisis in some way. “Members are none too eager to head home for a five-week recess having accomplished nothing, especially after blasting Obama for failing to visit the region during a fundraising jaunt through Texas.” The Hill reports, House GOP scales back border bill in scramble for conservative support:
House Republican appropriators are scaling down an emergency funding bill to address the surge of child immigrants crossing the border.
Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) is in the process of drafting limited legislation that would provide less than $1 billion in funds, and through only Sept. 30, aides said.
That’s a far cry from the $3.7 billion requested by the White House, and less than half the amount in $2.7 billion bill Senate Democrats have written.
The differences suggest it will be tough to get a final bill to President Obama’s desk, and that Republican leaders are more focused on winning approval from House conservatives to ensure a bill is approved by the lower chamber.
More good news from the Affordable Care Act aka “ObamaCare” — the ACA reforms applicable to Medicare are extending the solvency of the Medicare Trust. In an annual report today, Medicare finances improve as healthcare inflation slows, trustees say:
Improvements in healthcare costs have extended the life of Medicare’s main trust fund by four years, the annual report of the Social Security and Medicare trustees said Monday, a further sign of the positive effect of lower medical inflation.
Medicare Part B premiums are expected to remain the same through 2015 because of that improvement, Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell told reporters as the report was released.
Medicare is “considerably stronger than it was just four years ago,” she said.
The dominoes keep falling . . . the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals today upheld the order of the U.S. District Court for Virginia in Bostic v. Schaefer striking down that state’s same sex marriage ban. The Washington Post reports, Court rules Va.’s gay marriage ban unconstitutional:
A federal appeals court panel on Monday upheld a decision that said Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.
In a 2 to 1 decision, a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit in Richmond said that the fundamental right to marry is guaranteed under the Constitution regardless of sexual orientation.
“We recognize that same-sex marriage makes some people deeply uncomfortable,” said Circuit Judge Henry F. Floyd. “However, inertia and apprehension are not legitimate bases for denying same-sex couples due process and equal protection of the laws. Civil marriage is one of the cornerstones of our way of life.”
Floyd was joined by Circuit Judge Roger L. Gregory.
Their colleague Paul V. Niemeyer dissented and called the ruling “fundamentally flawed.”
Read the opinion in Bostic v. Schaefer Here (.pdf).
The students of the Vail School District, in partnership with The League of Women Voters of Greater Tucson, The Greater Vail Area Chamber of Commerce, and The Vail Voice Newspaper are sponsoring a GOP primary debate for the LD 14 candidates and the CD 2 congressional candidates.
Q: If tens of thousands of residents show up in your downtown to celebrate an historic grand opening over a three day weekend, do you think this would appear on the front page of your town’s only daily newspaper?
A: Yes — unless your town is Tucson, and your daily newspaper is the Arizona Daily Star.
On Friday, July 25, 2014 the City of Tucson and the Regional Transportation Authority hosted a series of ribbon cutting events with local pols to formally celebrate the Sun Link Tucson Streetcar launch.
With a variety of celebrations at various stops and a grand opening kickoff downtown, Tucsonans got their first chance to ride the Sun Link Tucson Streetcar. Rides were free through Sunday.