TUCSON, Ariz. — U.S. Senator Martha McSally (R-AZ) today joined a community celebration to inaugurate the Sabino Canyon Crawler, a new open-air electric, quiet shuttle.
McSally was joined by U.S. Reps. Raul Grijalva and Ann Kirkpatrick as she cut the ribbon on a new shuttle service that she helped make happen when she was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives.
"Today was a fantastic day to see the start of a new era in Sabino Canyon,” said McSally. “It took my persistent advocacy to demand that the Forest Service respond to the community needs and open up the bidding process for a cleaner, quieter, safer service for all who enjoy this treasure. Our efforts were successful and the community wins as now, we all can better enjoy Sabino Canyon and attract more visitors to this beautiful place.”
USDA Forest Service Kerwin Dewberry, Forest Supervisor said: “Today’s event was a great success and would not have been possible without the help of all of our community partners and representatives in Congress—especially Senator McSally. We are grateful to all of our community members who contributed to the project and look forward to the new service serving our community for years to come.”
David Hutchens, CEO Tucson Electric Power said: “TEP is pleased to be a partner in bringing the clean, all-electric shuttles into Sabino Canyon. We would not have been able to provide this service with our other project partners if it weren’t for Senator McSally’s engagement to ensure a competitive bid process for a new shuttle operator.”
Farhad Moghimi, Regional Partnering Center, Executive Director said: “We are excited to launch our all-electric Sabino Canyon Crawler this morning, keeping our beautiful canyon cleaner, quieter and more accessible for everyone to enjoy.”
As the Representative for Congressional District 2, which includes Sabino Canyon, McSally heard from a diverse array of Tucsonans about the old, noisy, polluting trams at Sabino Canyon. As a runner and hiker herself who frequented the Canyon, she witnessed these issues firsthand.
Then Representative McSally relentlessly urged the Forest Service to have a new, fair bidding process for future tram service. As a result of McSally’s persistent advocacy, a new contract was awarded. The loud and dirty bio-diesel tram that only accepted cash payments is gone. The upgrades to the service are universally welcomed by the community.
More than a million people visit Sabino Canyon every year and 10 percent ride the trams. The U.S. Forest Service has provided a tourist shuttle service up Sabino Canyon since 1978. The new crawler service, in partnership with TEP, will include five, 62-passenger zero-emissions electric trams.