Arizona residents and visitors can expect trains to become a more prominent way of public transportation in the near future as Amtrak and the Arizona Department of Transportation plan to bring multiple connecting services to Phoenix.
Currently, Amtrak’s station in the city of Maricopa in Pinal County is its closest stop to Phoenix, which is the largest city in the country without Amtrak service since 1996. However, Amtrak is working hard to change that, according to Amtrak CEO Stephen Gardner. Amtrak has applied for $176 million in federal funds from the Federal Railroad Administration to extend its long-distance network across America, which would include bringing its services back to Arizona’s capital.
If approved, Amtrak plans to make a daily route that would go all the way from New Orleans to Los Angeles and connect Phoenix and Tucson. The route would bring more money and development to the Phoenix area, reduce pollution and make the I-10 between Phoenix and Tucson a much safer commute by limiting the number of daily cars on the road.
According to United States Representative Greg Stanton, Congress should be able to quickly approve Amtrak’s proposal to extend its public transportation routes and restore service to Phoenix after Congress passed a bipartisan bill last year that largely invests in American transportation infrastructure, including $22 billion for increasing Amtrak’s service.
Additionally, the Arizona Department of Transportation is seeking a state grant of $3.5 million to study a route between Phoenix and Tucson that would offer three daily trips.