NewsNet 07-31-14

TUCSON OFFERS TESLA BUILDING PERMIT - In an effort to lure Tesla Motors' battery-making factory to Tucson, the City of Tucson has offered the company a building permit to start construction of a $3 billion plant. The permit is for a one-story building of up to 5 million square feet in size at an address “to be determined." Mayor Jonathan Rothschild this week sent the permit and a brief letter to Tesla officials. “Attached is a City of Tucson permit, ready for your signature,” the letter reads. “Just letting you know the City of Tucson is ready to proceed as soon as you are.” Competing states have offered discounted electricity and free land, and have introduced bills to allow direct sales of Tesla’s vehicles, which states such as Arizona currently ban. Tesla officials have said previously that the company wants to pick one or two sites this year and begin battery production at one of them by 2017. Read more from the Arizona Daily Star.
NEW DOWNTOWN TUCSON PARTNERSHIP REPORT QUANTIFIES SUCCESS OF STREETCAR - The economic impact of the Sun Link Tucson Streetcar continues to grow. Even though the streetcar began passenger service less than a week ago, economic development along the 3.9-mile route has been heavy since voters approved the streetcar and RTA plan back in 2006. The latest estimate from the Downtown Tucson Partnership quantifies more than $900 million in public and private investment along the line from west of Interstate-10, downtown, 4th Avenue and the University of Arizona.
STREETCARS KEEP WINNING SCRAMBLE FOR FEDERAL MASS TRANSIT PROJECT FUNDING - In the competition for urban transit funding, light rail and streetcars are winning and buses remain runners up. Although more capital intensive than bus systems, light rail and streetcars dominate the list of 53 mass transit projects being funded or under consideration in the FTA’s New Starts program. The $196 million Sun Link Tucson Streetcar was funded in part by a $63 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant – part of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Of the 53 projects recently funded nationwide, 30 of them were light rail or streetcar projects, and only 18 were “bus rapid transit” (BRT) – buses running in a dedicated lane closed to other traffic. The rest were for heavy rail projects. Read more from Roll Call.
CITY OF TUCSON DEPARTMENT OF PROCUREMENT WINS ANOTHER NATIONAL AWARD - The City of Tucson’s Department of Procurement recently was awarded the Achievement of Excellence in Procurement Award (AEP) for 2014. The award, from the National Procurement Institute, recognizes innovation, professionalism, e-procurement, productivity, and leadership attributes. The City of Tucson is one of only 14 government agencies in Arizona - and one of 68 cities in the United States - to receive the award. The City is one of only six agencies to receive the AEP award for all 19 years since its inception. Under the leadership of Director Marcheta Gillespie, Tucson’s Department of Procurement consistently wins awards for its work.
REID PARK ZOO AND DESERT MUSEUM JOIN TO SUPPORT CONSERVATION - The Reid Park Zoo will join several other conservation organizations Saturday night at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum's Cool Summer Nights from 6 p.m.-9 p.m. The evening will focus on conservation projects the organizations support. There also will be information on rainwater harvesting, buffelgrass, fire prevention, birding games, and threatened and endangered species.