Eleven Arizona mayors—led by Tucson Mayor Regina Romero and Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego—have released a joint letter to the state’s congressional delegation supporting Amtrak’s vision to bring passenger rail service to the Tucson-Phoenix corridor.
“Frequent and reliable passenger rail service will expand economic opportunities and provide important regional connections between our cities and towns,” wrote the mayors—including those from Goodyear, Mesa, Glendale, Oro Valley, South Tucson, Marana, Avondale, Sahuarita and Chandler—in a letter dated July 13.
There hasn’t been rail service between Tucson and Phoenix since the mid 1990s. Amtrak’s proposal calls for three daily round-trips from Tucson through to Phoenix and Buckeye (see map above), running on host freight railroad Union Pacific. In addition to the existing Tucson station, there would be eight new stations on the route: Marana, Coolidge, Queen Creek, Tempe, Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, Phoenix Downtown, Goodyear-Avondale and Buckeye.
The proposed Amtrak stations would allow riders to connect with the Phoenix Valley Metro, which is currently expanding its light rail system with the South Central Extension/Downtown Hub and Northwest Extension Phase II projects. The Tucson SunLink Streetcar already connects the Amtrak Tucson station to the Mercado neighborhood, downtown Tucson and the University of Arizona.
The proposed Tucson-Phoenix-Buckeye route could also link to Los Angeles with one daily round-trip, according to Amtrak. It would connect riders with Amtrak’s Coast Starlight, Pacific Surfliner, Southwest Chief, Sunset Limited, and Texas Eagle services, as well as a proposed corridor to Las Vegas from Los Angeles.
In their letter, the mayors also asked the delegation to “support Amtrak’s reauthorization proposal as Congress considers the future of surface transportation programs.”