Amtrak applying for federal funds to return service to Phoenix

Amtrak has applied for $176 million in Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) funding to improve its long-distance network.
Published: Jun. 6, 2023 at 8:35 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Since 1996, the Amtrak station in Maricopa has been the closest stop to Phoenix. However, Amtrak is working to change that. “(It is) frankly an embarrassment that we don’t serve such a major, prominent city,” said Amtrak’s CEO, Stephen Gardner.

Representative Greg Stanton (D) couldn’t agree more. “We need as many multi-forms of transportation as possible. A great public transportation, a great transportation state including all sorts of mode of transportation,” said Rep. Stanton.

Amtrak has applied for $176 million in Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) funding to improve its long-distance network. The money would go to 16 projects across the country, including Phoenix.

“Phoenix is the largest city in the United States of America without Amtrak service. It’s not acceptable,” he said. Stanton didn’t say when the updated route would go online if Amtrak receives the green light but mentioned it could be in a “very short time period.”

“One of the locations that Amtrak is making, is to bring back Sunset Limited, which goes all the way from New Orleans to Los Angeles, including connecting Phoenix and Tucson. That would be a daily route,” he said.

He said the route would bring more money and development to the area and reduce pollution. “Could you imagine the number of cars that will be taken off the I-10 between Phoenix and Tucson? How much safer that’s going to make the roads?” said Stanton.

Stanton believes the proposal will go through Congress quickly since the money is available. “We passed, in Congress, a great bipartisan bill last year. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law- the largest investment in transportation infrastructure in American history, including $22 billion for increasing Amtrak’s service,” he said.

Stanton said the Arizona Department of Transportation is applying for a $3.5 million state grant to fund a study of a route that would go three times per day between Phoenix and Tucson.

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