TUCSON — If you’re interested in taking a passenger train between Tucson and Phoenix, we have more details about plans to make that happen.
Right now, passenger trains come through Tucson just three times a week running between California and Texas. The plan for Tucson to Phoenix calls for three trips per day.
Amtrak’s proposal counts on the idea that a lot of people would like to avoid driving themselves up and down I-10 and would let Amtrak give them a fast, convenient trip to Phoenix instead.
Amtrak says each of three trips per day would take about two and a half hours---comparable to a road trip in typical traffic. Amtrak did not predict what the fare might be.
The proposal forecasts about 200,000 riders per year. That’s still well below the traffic counts on I-10. ADOT says the intersection of I-10 and Ina in Tucson alone gets more than 95,000 trips per day.
But backers argue even if you don’t want to ride the train you might be happy to get on track with the economic boost they predict -- about $77 million a year in development along the route.'
Tucson Mayor Regina Romero compares it to more than a billion dollars in private investment that bloomed along less than four miles of Tucson’s Streetcar track.
She says, “From a purely economic development perspective, this new service will yield important benefits throughout our region, having a $1.9 billion economic impact in one-time capital investment."
This does depend on planning and money from Congress probably more than one point one billion for track and train stations. From approval to the first ride, it could be about three years.