Phoenix-Tucson train: Arizona narrows options for proposed passenger line

PHOENIX - State transportation planners have narrowed potential routes for a proposed but unfunded new rail passenger line between Phoenix and Tucson to three alternatives.

All three routes still on the table would run along Interstate 10 south of Eloy, and one of them would track I-10 northward. The other two veer further to the east, with one sharing Union Pacific Corp. railroad's alignment north of Eloy.

Discarded alternatives included ones routing the line through western Pinal County and establishing an express bus service on I-10.

The Department of Transportation said this week it narrowed the alternatives on the basis of technical evaluations and public input.

The department now plans to move forward with preparing a draft environmental impact statement.

However, the department says there is no construction schedule or identified source of funding for construction.

The department said it envisions a system that blends express service between Phoenix and Tucson and local service serving local communities on the way.

"It's important to plan for multimodal travel options as we look ahead to the future of Arizona's transportation infrastructure and as our state's population continues to grow," said ADOT Director John Halikowski. "A passenger rail line will not only connect communities, but also economies. It's not only a plan, it's an investment in Arizona's future."

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