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Amtrak on track for Tucson to Phoenix service

Could start in three years
Published: Jul. 27, 2021 at 7:45 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Amtrak is attempting to add 39 new routes, 160 new cities and 20 million new riders in the next 15 years.

The passenger service has not expanded in decades. But now it has a friend in the White House, President Joe Biden, who has ridden Amtrak for most of the past 30 years.

If the service is expanded, one of the new routes will be between Tucson and Phoenix three times a day and another from Tucson to Los Angeles.

Amtrak officials held a media round table with some of the people whose support it will need if it’s to become a reality.

“In so many ways, this investment makes so much sense,” said Tucson Mayor Regina Romero. “This investment represents a common sense investment in our state.”

Also on board are Democratic Representatives Ruben Gallego and Greg Stanton.

“Earlier this month, the House passed a historic investment in Amtrak through our Invest Act, $32 billion over five years,” Stanton said. “That’s three times higher than current funding levels.”

If completed, Amtrak will build a new station in Marana as well as Coolidge, hoping to pick up passengers who would rather take a train rather than drive on future congested freeways.

“Phoenix and Tucson are the second and third fastest warming cities respectively in the United States,” Romero said. “This underscores the imperative of providing green travel alternatives.”

Rail passenger service between Tucson and Phoenix ended in 1995 because it wasn’t profitable, but Amtrak believes the Sun Corridor has grown significantly since then and can support the new route.

Most mayors along the proposed route tend to agree. Eleven mayors, both Democrat and Republican, have signed a letter urging Congress to fund the upgrades and new routes.

“There was absolute support, no question about it,” Romero said. “The mayors of Oro Valley, South Tucson, Sahuarita and Marana jumped on it immediately.”

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