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Upcoming transit line to directly connect Tucson Mall and airport

Upcoming transit line to directly connect Tucson Mall and airport
Posted at 6:21 AM, May 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-06 11:10:49-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Thousands of people fly out of Tucson everyday, but figuring out how to get to and from the airport can be a hassle.

“My husband usually takes me or we go together,” said Shirley Slocum, Tucson resident.

“If I can get a ride to the airport, I might not be able to get a ride back depending on people’s schedules and what time the flight comes back,” said Laura de la Torre, Tucson resident.

Laura de la Torre lives in downtown Tucson. She drives herself to the airport, and pays around $7 a day for parking.

“If you’re gone for a week that adds up to money, it would be easier just to take transit,” de la Torre said.

Right now, there’s only one route for Tucsonans taking public transit from downtown to the airport. But it takes three times longer than driving.

“Route 25, it would take approximately an hour and a half,” said Ian Sansom, Project Manager.

The city is about to change that with a new 15-mile transit line. This line will run directly from the Tucson Mall, through downtown and all the way to the airport.

“It would connect three transit centers, a lot of major employers: Pima Community College, the Veterans Hospital, the airport itself," Sansom said. "More than half of jobs in metro Tucson are in this area.”

Business development is expected along this transit line, and could impact more than 30 neighborhoods. Many of which are historically made up of low-income, marginalized communities. Sansom and his team are working on a plan called Tucson Norte-Sur to ensure this development benefits these areas, along with the rest of Tucson.

“There’s a lot of concern around rising property values and there’s a housing crisis," Sansom said. "So how do we build more housing in a way that the neighborhoods would support and help drive housing prices lower.”

It'll be another five to ten years before this transit line is complete. The city is still figuring out where exactly it'll go and whether or not it will be a street car or a bus. There will be three open houses for Tucsonans to give their input:

May 16, 6-8pm, Literacy Connects

May 17, 6-8pm, YWCA House of Neighborly Service (City of South Tucson)

May 18, 6-8pm, Sunnyside High School Library