In early 2011, the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) launched a study examining the feasibility of a passenger rail line or express bus service between Phoenix and Tucson. At that time, ADOT asked for the public’s input regarding rail and other transportation alternatives between these two metropolitan areas.
ADOT received a lot of comments (3,075 to be exact) and was able to move forward by identifying six potential rail alternatives and one express bus alternative. These are routes that could link Phoenix and Tucson, while meeting demands for future growth and travel options along one of the busiest interstate corridors in Arizona.
ADOT is again calling on the public to provide input. They want to know what the community at large thinks of the seven alternatives that have been selected for further study.
To get this feedback, ADOT is participating in a series of community events in Maricopa, Pinal and Pima counties to reach out to community members and get ideas and opinions on the seven options. The public can also participate by taking an online survey.
The survey and complete list of outreach events can be found at AZDOT.gov/PassengerRail. The public comment period runs through Dec. 15.
More information will be available locally at the Casa Grande Art in the Alley event Nov. 6 at The Alley (between 2nd St. and 3rd St. behind the Cook-e-Jar, and at the Gilbert Days 5K event Nov. 16 at Freestone Park.
Along with the seven potential alignments, ADOT is studying sites for station locations. The alignments include system hubs located near downtown Phoenix and downtown Tucson, and each includes extensions beyond the system hubs that would link to the west Phoenix metropolitan area, as well as Tucson International Airport.
Based on the technical analysis and the public input received this fall, ADOT will then narrow the seven alternatives down to two or three final options in early 2013. Once the study ends in late 2013, ADOT is expected to select a locally preferred alternative.
Should the study conclude that a passenger rail line or bus service is feasible between Phoenix and Tucson, ADOT would complete further planning and environmental studies and development activities prior to construction of any segment in the corridor.
There is currently no funding identified to build a passenger rail line. ADOT will work with the public, stakeholders and policymakers to identify a funding source, should the project move forward.
More information on ADOT’s Passenger Rail Corridor Study can be found online at AZDOT.gov.