When Metrorail’s new Silver Line opens to passengers on July 26, it will soundly beat DC’s H Street streetcar in the unofficial race over which opens first. But one day earlier, a sister project to the DC streetcar will have its day in the sun.
At 9:00 am on July 25, less than 30 hours before the Silver Line opens, Tucson’s Sun Link streetcar will carry its first passengers.
Although Tucson is 2,000 miles away from H Street, their streetcar project is related to DC’s. Manufacturer United Streetcar built the railcars for both DC and Tucson, and the same factory delays that have slowed delivery of DC’s streetcars also mired Tucson’s.
Sun Link was originally supposed to open in October, 2013. Its 10 month late opening is just as frustrating for Arizonans as the late transit openings are for us in the DC region.
But frustrations aside, the impending opening dates for the Silver Line and Tucson streetcar are also a light at the end of the tunnel for H Street. Overcoming the obstacles of a big new infrastructure project is hard, and takes a long time, but these projects do eventually open.
Cross-posted at BeyondDC.