Environmental review of Arizona passenger corridor moves forward

RELATED TOPICS: PASSENGER | COMMUTER | SOUTHWEST | REGULATION
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Phoenix
A new environmental report outlines potential concerns about passenger service routes between Phoenix and Tucson, Ariz.
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PHOENIX – Plans to build a passenger rail connection between two Arizona cities takes a step further along now that a draft environmental review is complete.

The Arizona Department of Transportation says it collaborated with the Federal Railroad Administration on a Tier 1 draft environmental impact statement for a proposed passenger rail line to connect Tucson with Phoenix.

The environmental impact statement considers two rail alternatives and a no-build option in order to identify the most ideal corridor for a potential passenger rail line. The "yellow"-coded alternative would serve East Valley communities and central Pinal County and would use existing Union Pacific tracks north of Eloy. The "orange"-coded alternative would serve East Valley population centers and share part of its alignment with a proposed North-South Freeway Corridor, the report says.

Report writers also reviewed a no-build alternative. This would mean that instead of building a railroad, Arizonans would expand highways.

One proposed route between Tucson and Phoenix would include an express intercity service with few stops between the two metropolitan areas as well as a local commuter serve that would serve most suburban communities. The state transportation department has already identified general locations for train stations.

The project is in earliest phase of review. Government officials have yet to set a budget or project a construction schedule on the project. Additional environmental would be required before moving forward.

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