Local mayors support Amtrak proposal for a passenger rail connecting Tucson and Phoenix

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Local mayors support Amtrak proposal for a passenger rail connecting Tucson and Phoenix
Local mayors support Amtrak proposal for a passenger rail connecting Tucson and Phoenix

Click to enlarge Mayors of 11 Arizona parishes, including Tucson, Phoenix, Oro Valley, and Marana, sent a letter to Arizona Convention leaders supporting Amtrak’s proposal for a passenger rail service between Tucson and Phoenix. “It’s about a regional approach to economic development, because what’s good for Tucson is also good for the region,” said Romero on Tuesday in a media talk with Amtrak and city guides. “It’s really about giving all of our residents, including those who live south of Tucson in Nogales and Rio Rico, the opportunity to connect even tourists arriving from Sonora, Mexico, our main trading partner in Arizona. to Tucson. “The passenger railroad would be an alternative to driving a car, with a five-minute shorter travel time than the two-hour and 30-minute rush hour from Tucson to Phoenix,” said Amtrak President Stephen Gardner. The route would also connect other cities such as Marana, Coolidge, and Goodyear. The railroad would offer three daily tours between Tucson, Phoenix and Buckeye, as well as one daily trip from Tucson to Los Angeles. The proposed route is part of Amtrak’s Corridor Vision Plan to expand low-carbon intercity passenger train services to 160 communities across the country over the next 15 years. “We have a global climate crisis. Sometimes the traffic jams feed themselves on the road and really in the air. We have a history of structural inequality in society but also in transport, ”said Bill Flynn, CEO of Amtrak. “We believe that one way to address and overcome these challenges our country is facing is to expand intercity passenger train traffic and establish a system that often provides reliable, sustainable and equitable alternatives to driving and flying Flynn said the rail could solve long-term congestion problems in the corridor, as Tucson commuters are estimated to be about 90% more time in traffic than elsewhere and commuters in major cities could be delayed up to 62 hours, which is estimated to be about $ 1,000 per year. The passenger railroad would require an investment of about $ 925 million and take about three years of construction to set up the service, Gardner said. Amtrak estimates the service would serve approximately 200,000 passengers annually, generate $ 77.7 million annually, and generate approximately $ 2.3 billion in economic activity from one-time capital investments. Publicity: Marana Mayor Ed Honea, who signed the letter of support, said voters could visit their families or travel to work, as his own family has done between San Diego and Los Angeles. He also noted that there are several hotel and motel complexes in the area around the Marana Station where people can stay for business. In addition to the leisure traveler, Visit Phoenix CEO Ron Price added that connecting these cities would increase interest in the area. “How much more attractive will we be when we land in the next corporate headquarters, the regional offices?” Asked Preis. Amtrak would use and build on existing routes and deploy their new diesel multiple unit, which Gardner said is a “very effective train set”. While the train is not electric, he said, Amtrak is looking into various alternatives to offer “the lowest carbon service we can”. When asked why Amtrak is considering a passenger train versus a high-speed train, Flynn noted how much time and investment a high-speed train would cost but would be considered in the future once there was an existing route. “Bullet train from start to finish is typically a 15+ year project and I think we’ll look at this once there is a corridor and volumes in place,” said Flynn. “The approach here is to build the service, increase the number of passengers, and then explore what other future opportunities for service may exist.” Amtrak hopes to secure the federal funding needed to start operations, including the agreements with host railways such as Union Pacific to develop the operating rights. Gardner said they had proposed a “bold federal investment plan” to Congress to cover all initial capital costs and some early operating costs. They also advocated that Congress allocate additional funding to increase the operation of the trains, including the two they currently have, on their long-distance network from three times a week to daily. According to Flynn, part of the proposal also provides for the need for operating resources to be transferred to the state after a while. “The state of Arizona has an incredible opportunity to lead this particular type of investment that other states are already doing,” said Romero.

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