July 13, 2021
PHOENIX, AZ — Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego and Tucson's Regina Romero, in combination with a host of Arizona politicians, are calling on congress to reinstate rail service between Arizona's two largest cities.
The letter, which is co-signed by Gallego, Romero, and mayors Georgia Lord (Goodyear); John Giles (Mesa); Jerry Weiers (Glendale); Joe Winfield (Oro Valley); Bob Teso (South Tucson); Ed Honea (Marana); Kenneth Weise (Avondale); Tom Murphy (Sahuarita); and Kevin Hartke (Chandler), calls for Amtrak service to resume between Phoenix and Tucson, for the first time since the mid-1990's.
In their letter, which is addressed to Arizona's 11-person congressional delegation, the mayors ask for the service, mainly to boost both Phoenix and Tucson's local economies.
"As Mayors of cities and towns located along the potential Tucson-Phoenix-West Valley Amtrak route, we enthusiastically support Amtrak's vision to bring passenger rail service to our communities," the letter reads.
"Frequent and reliable passenger rail service will expand economic opportunities and provide important regional connections between our cities and towns."
Gallego said a potential revival of Amtrak's Tucson-Phoenix route, which is included as part of the national rail service's "Amtrak Connects US" route expansion, would be huge for both cities.
The proposed spur route would add stops at Coolidge, Queen Creek, Tempe, Sky Harbor, Goodyear-Avondale and Buckeye, before heading southwest toward Yuma and onto Los Angeles' Union Station.
"Phoenix continues to grow at a remarkable rate. These new residents rightly expect to have more options for moving throughout the state for business and for recreation," said Gallego in a statement. "Expanded rail service is a big step toward meeting that need, as well as relieving traffic congestion on Interstate 10 between Phoenix and Tucson in a sustainable, cost-effective way."
The proposed route, which would be included in the $66 million allocation to Amtrak in the bipartisan infrastructure plan making its way through congress, has the potential to generate almost $2 billion in economic impact, Romero said.
Romero believes the proposed Phoenix-Tucson Amtrak route would be an economic driver for both cities.
"This new service will yield important economic benefits throughout the region, increase travel options for millions of Arizonans, and help us reduce our carbon footprint," Romero said in a statement. "Importantly, funding for passenger rail is included in the proposed bipartisan infrastructure bill, which will help Arizona catch up to other states when it comes to passenger rail service availability."