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Passenger Rail Between Tucson-Phoenix Studied
by Andrea Kelley
Several options for passenger rail service between Tucson and Phoenix are under study by the Arizona Department of Transportation.
Supporters say it could be an economic driver for the heavily-traveled corridor, but others caution it would have to be paid for with help from the private sector.
The Passenger Rail Corridor Study includes research into what happens if the state makes no changes to its plans for transportation between the cities in the next several decade
The study is also looking at whether there is a solution other than passenger rail and includes suggestions for various rail routes.
The Arizona Public Interest Research Group, which supports a passenger rail line between Tucson and Phoenix, recently released a report detailing the benefits of connecting the cities by passenger rail.
“Rail can expand the labor pool and expand market access for businesses, bring 30,000 job years of employment to Arizona, boost local economic development and ensure that the Tucson Phoenix area remains attractive to young people who increasingly want transportation options,” says the public interest group's Serena Unrein.
Unrein says a passenger rail line could save riders $750 million in 30 years as people stop spending money on driving private vehicles between Tucson and Phoenix. That figure comes from the group's report.
“Train riders would also save approximately $150 million worth of economically productive time," Unrein says. "Rail allows travelers to e-mail, text or sleep. Things that you can’t or shouldn’t do while driving.”