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Tucson - May 2011

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Tucson ― Cost-Cutting Saves Millions

Rail Transit Online, May 2011

The $196-million budget for Tucson's proposed downtown streetcar project has been cut by $9.5 million, with another $3-million reduction anticipated, but that still leaves a deficit of approximately $7 million.

The biggest saving, $6 million, will come from bidding tracklaying as a single contract instead of four separate deals, reducing administrative and construction mobilization costs. The idea behind the multiple contracts was to encourage competition, but it was ultimately decided that more money could be saved by consolidating the work because the line is only 3.6-mi. (5.8 km) long.

Another $3.5 million will come from substituting American-made T-rail for block rail, which is more expensive and difficult to install because it is made in shorter lengths and requires more welds. Finally, the city expects to save $3 million on rebuilding the Cushing Street Bridge because of lower than expected bids.

Officials say they will continue to look for more cost cuts but will seek an additional federal grant to fill in the remaining budget gap. The price recently jumped from $182 million based on estimates from the Federal Transit Administration.


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