NewsNet 09-03-14

TUCSON POLICE DEPARTMENT (TPD) RECIPIENT OF STATE GRANTS TO BUY EQUIPMENT - More than $250,000 in grants from the Arizona Governor's Office Of Highway Safety (GOHS) helped TPD purchase six police motorcycles, two unmarked SUVs, 24 laser speed detection devices, and more. When combined with additional equipment and overtime funding for training, education and enforcement in the areas of speed, impaired driving, pedestrian and bicycle safety, and occupant protection, GOHS has provided more than $2 million in grant funding for Tucson over the last three years. In recognition of the efforts of GOHS and Director Alberto Gutier, the Tucson Police Department will hold a news conference tomorrow at 10 a.m. at the front entrance of the TPD's Traffic Division at 1310 West Miracle Mile. The items purchased with the grant funds will be on display. Read the news release, and visit the TPD Facebook page.

NEW PROGRAM IN TUCSON AIMED AT BOOSTING HOMEOWNERSHIP - A new program is offering $5.5 million to increase homeownership and strengthen neighborhoods in Tucson. Wells Fargo, NeighborWorks America®, the Primavera Foundation, Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild, and South Tucson Mayor Paul Diaz announced the Tucson NeighborhoodLIFT® program last month. Down payment assistance of $15,000 will be available for eligible homebuyers with annual incomes that do not exceed 120 percent of the Tucson area median income – about $68,400 for a family of four – with income maximums varying depending on family size and type of loan. Among other things, potential buyers must complete an eight-hour homebuyer education session with The Primavera Foundation or another HUD-approved counseling agency. Participants must commit to live in the home for five years and qualify for a first mortgage with any lender. The Tucson Wells Fargo  NeighborhoodLIFT® program begins with a free homebuyer event this Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., at the Tucson Convention Center. Pre-registration is closed, but walk-in appointments may be available. Read more from Market Watch/Wall Street Journal.

FEDERAL GRANT TO BOOST TUCSON'S RAIL CAPACITY - A $5 million grant to improve rail capabilities in Tucson has been awarded, a year after it was announced. A Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant - the same type of grant that also helped fund the Sun Link Tucson Streetcar - was awarded by the U.S. Department of Transportation to the Port of Tucson and Pima County. The money will fund a $13 million project to build an off-ramp for Union Pacific to enter the port without delaying other trains or motorists sitting at the Kolb Road railroad crossing, near Interstate 10. Pima County officials estimate the port could add up to 100 logistics jobs once the project is operational. Construction is expected to take about six months. Read more from the Arizona Daily Star.
TUCSON AMONG BEST CITIES FOR RETIREES - A new study by WalletHub, a personal finance website, finds Tucson to be the 24th best place for retirees among the nation's 150 largest cities. That puts Tucson ahead of Gilbert, Chandler, Glendale and Phoenix. The study praised Tucson for its affordability, nice weather, and quality of life issues of interest to seniors, including percentage of residents of retirement age who are still working, a low crime rate, and good air and water quality. Tucson also fared well in the category of activities, such as the number of recreation and senior centers, fishing facilities, and public golf courses. The report also says communities in Arizona, Florida and Texas benefit from good weather. Read more from Capitol Media Services via the Arizona Daily Star.
NEED HELP STARTING OR EXPANDING A BUSINESS IN TUCSON? CALL THE SMALL BUSINESS ASSISTANCE LINE - The City of Tucson's Small Business Assistance Line, (520) 837-4100, is available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Help is available in both English and Spanish. Staff from the City Manager's Office of Economic Initiatives answer the calls. The Small Business Assistance Line is one of a number of City initiatives, along with 21 new business incentives, streamlined permit processes and more, to make the City of Tucson more business-friendly.