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Commuter Rail

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ADOT has begun to fulfill Governor Napolitano's order to study transportation alternatives: Commuter rail system on track to reality

To summarize, it would take 3 to 10 years to get the first segment of 20-30 miles running at $10+ million per mile. The article even has a handy map. It shows a line coming northwest up from Queen Creek through Gilbert to Mesa, west through Tempe roughly parallel to the I-10 into Goodyear. Another branch runs along Grand Avenue into Peoria. In the future, the commuter rail may expand to Wickenburg and Tucson. This is just a preliminary study, a draft plan will be out by the end of the year.

This is exciting!

Now how about long distance rail to Tucson, Flagstaff, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas? Baby bullet or faster, preferably.

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Exciting, sure. But I am disappointed to see an inter-urban Tucson-Phoenix section on the proverbial back-burner. Maybe I'm biased, but it seems to be the most immediate need at this point.

But, of course, as brought up before, there's no infrastructure. Conversely, in the Valley, there are quite a few under-utilized rail lines. So why is it $10 million/mile if the infrastructure already exists and all that's needed is ROW acquisition or leasing?

I like the Phoenix to Vegas and LA thing. But Flagstaff will probably never happen. The existing line gets there via Wickenburg, Congress and Ash Fork, and I don't think that it'd be possible to get a train up the Rim.

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An article in today's Arizona Republic: In N.M., long haul is easy ride

To see what it's like to have commuter rail, The Republic spent two days riding the train in Albuquerque, talking with commuters and rail officials.

Early reviews of the system are mixed. People like the train's affordability. Some even like the idea that they are helping to reduce air pollution. Critics, however, say operating the $9 million-a-year system is too expensive and not enough people use it.

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Agreed. Renting a car in SF actually causes more problems than it solves. And I'd actually rather go to Portland than Seattle now because the transit infrastructure is better.

Public transit always has critics. Some people don't understand its benefits or that, most times, it's actually a form of social welfare in providing affordable transportation to the poor.

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I've lived in Tucson for the past 5 years and have always wanted a train system allowing me to travel to PHX, Vegas, or LA. The issue is in the number of passangers traveling to Tucson. Feasability studies show that there simply is not enough demand from North to South for almost 200 miles of track and a steady schedule of trains. From my research, empty trains from Phoenix to Tucson are forseen - killing feasability.

Why would a person from Phoenix, LA, or Vegas want to come to Tucson? Right now I'm not sure there is a strong enough motive. Tucson must reposition itself (possibly as an international gateway connecting legitimate business from Mexico-US). Right now, golf and good weather really doesn't cut it when attempting to draw from other close, metro areas with similar attractions.

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Welcome to the forum, mdefoe!

Certainly good to have another Tucsonan on here.

I should point out that there is already a train running between Tucson and LA. Not high-speed though. It picks up here at about 1am nightly (except Saturday night/Sunday morning) and gets to LA's Union Station at about 10am. This is the same train that runs to El Paso and eventually ends up in New Orleans (it used to go to Orlando, but that was truncated after Katrina). It's cheap too, like $40 one-way. I have yet to take it because I dislike LA and don't see much reason to go (San Diego, on the other hand...)

Tucson certainly doesn't hold its own against destination cities like Scottsdale and Los Angeles, but, when you have people leaving the city for reasons such as flying out of Sky Harbor, doing business in Phoenix or simply a weekend trip, people have to return somehow. I wouldn't think that all ridership would be based on one-way trips alone.

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