Tucson to county: Streetcar stop downtown will stay put

It cites easement, rejects Pima request to shift rider location
2013-04-01T00:00:00Z Tucson to county: Streetcar stop downtown will stay putDarren DaRonco Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
April 01, 2013 12:00 am  • 

City of Tucson officials have put their Pima County counterparts on notice that a streetcar stop being built atop a county sewer connection is staying put - and if the sewer line breaks, the county will be expected to pay all repair costs.

After the city refused to move the stop, Pima County asked that the city sign an agreement to cover all costs of removing or replacing it in the event the county needs to access the sewer line.

Pima County contends the stop at South Granada Avenue and West Cushing Street will exacerbate repair costs and complicate maintenance of the sewer line.

The county bought an easement for the sewer line in 1985 and expects the city to recognize those property rights.

But the city said a little-known agreement dating back to 1964 means the city doesn't have to pay anything if the county digs up the new streetcar stop.

City Manager Richard Miranda said records show the city was granted a roadway easement from the Southern Pacific Railroad about 50 years ago, which covers most of Granada Avenue today.

And based on those previous agreements, "Pima County is responsible for making whole any city facilities in the event that they are damaged by failure of, or need to access" the sewer, Miranda wrote in an letter to the county.

County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry acknowledged the city easement but said only a small corner of the stop appears to fall within it. The majority of the stop sits on county property, putting financial responsibility on the city.

Jackson Jenkins, Regional Wasterwater Reclamation director, said the county is evaluating the city's claims and preparing a formal response.

Despite the bickering, city streetcar co-manager Andrew Quigley believes the two sides will eventually reach an amicable agreement.

"When push comes to shove, we'll all get to the right place on this," Quigley said.

City officials said they rejected moving the stop because the cost of rerouting the tracks was excessive, and, since the stop is little more than some benches and a shelter, the county's concerns about removing or replacing them were overblown.

On StarNet: View a timeline of Tucson's modern streetcar project azstarnet.com/streetcar

Contact reporter Darren DaRonco at 573-4243 or ddaronco@azstarnet.com

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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