21st Century Transportation for Arizona

Most Arizonans needs some form of transportation each day to get to work, school or other responsibilities. Yet Arizona’s current transportation options are incredibly lacking.

Arizona Needs More Transportation Options

For too many years, Arizona has neglected to adequately invest in public transit, bicycling and pedestrian infrastructure. The failure to provide a 21st Century Transportation system forces many drivers to deal with daily headaches of accidents and stifling traffic jams. Meanwhile, the pollutants from our vehicles contribute to poor air quality, leaving more and more citizens in Arizona - particularly children and seniors - suffering from respiratory illnesses like asthma.

The public transit investments voters have approved on a local level are working, but they do not extend far enough. While public transit in Arizona has helped to relieve congestion, curb pollution, mitigate public health problems and stimulate the economy, we can and must do better.

 

Consider the following:

  • $7 billion in economic development activities has already been generated along the light rail in the Phoenix area since its launch less than a decade ago.
  • Enhancing public transportation options will help Arizona attract and retain talented young professionals and the businesses that want to hire them. Millennials have led a trend since the middle of the last decade away from driving and toward greater ridership on public transit. Public transit agencies in Flagstaff, the Phoenix metro area, Tucson and Yuma are experiencing record ridership.
  • Expanding options to travel without a personal automobile can save hours of productive time wasted behind the wheel and improves mobility for those who cannot afford or are unable to drive a car.

Arizona PIRG is working with community and business leaders, public health and consumer organizations, transportation advocates and concerned citizens to encourage our elected officials to advance a transportation system that meets the needs of the 21st century – one in which public transportation plays a much bigger role than it does today.

Issue updates

News Release | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Transportation

New Report Documents Transportation Trends in Arizona:

According to new research, Arizona is experiencing a shift in how people travel. Bikes, Trains and Less Driving, a report by the Arizona PIRG Education Fund and St. Luke’s Health Initiatives, found that between 2005-2012 Arizona saw a 10.5 percent decline in annual vehicle miles traveled per capita and Arizonans increasingly look to public transportation to get around.

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Report | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Transportation

Bikes, Trains and Less Driving

Arizona, like the rest of America, is experiencing a shift in how people travel. The Driving Boom – a six decade-long period of steady increase in per-capita driving across the United States – is over. Driving miles per person are down especially sharply among Millennials, America’s largest generation that will increasingly dominate transportation trends. Since 2005 Arizonans have been driving fewer miles per person, and they increasingly look to public transportation to get around.

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Media Hit | Transportation

You can weigh in on Phoenix-Tucson rail

Arizonans increasingly are moving away from driving and seeking alternatives, said Serena Unrein, public interest advocate at the Arizona Public Interest Research Group, or PIRG. An option such as the Phoenix-Tucson passenger rail could be an important resource for Arizonans looking for alternative travel methods, she said.

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Report | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Transportation

A New Course

Universities and colleges across the country are taking steps to encourage their communities, students, faculty and staff to decrease their reliance on personal vehicles. These efforts are working well – saving money for universities, improving the quality of life in college towns, and giving today’s students experience in living life without depending on a personal car.

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News Release | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Transportation

New Report: University Campuses Are Transportation Trailblazers as Students Lead Shift From Driving

As Millennials lead a national shift away from driving, higher education institutions like Arizona State University and the University of Arizona are giving students new options for getting around and becoming innovators in transportation policy.

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News Release | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Transportation

Arizonans Have Opportunities to Weigh In on Passenger Rail

As part of its Intercity Rail Study, the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) recently announced opportunities for Arizonans to give their input on a proposed passenger rail line connecting Phoenix and Tucson. Supporters of passenger rail cheered these public meetings as a step forward for rail connecting Arizona’s two largest cities.

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Media Hit | Transportation

Guest Commentary: Burgeoning traffic concerns make bullet-train travel vital

A guest commentary on passenger rail written by Serena Unrein, public-interest advocate for the Arizona PIRG Education Fund, appeared in the July 24, 2012 edition of the Arizona Republic.

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News Release | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Transportation

New Report Assesses the Potential of Rail Public-Private Partnerships

A first-of-its-kind report released today examines whether high-speed rail should be public, private or both. The report released by the Arizona PIRG Education Fund examines the experience with public-private partnerships for high-speed rail in the U.S. and other countries.  In addition to outlining the promise and pitfalls, the report recommends ten principles to protect taxpayers and the public interest under private financing deals.

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Media Hit | Transportation

Public News Service: Older Arizonans Face Future of Limited Mobility

More than half of the growing senior population in Arizona cities will soon have little or no access to public transportation, according to a new study. With baby boomers reaching retirement age and eventually giving up driving, the problem is expected to worsen.

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Media Hit | Transportation

Daily News-Sun: Traffic troubles limit elderly

As the number of Arizonans age 65 and older continues to grow, their ability to find available public transportation services are rapidly becoming more difficult, research shows.

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Report | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Transportation

Arizona and the Stimulus

June 29th, 2009 marks the 120-day deadline for Arizona and the other states to commit at least 50% of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act’s (ARRA) $26.6 billion in transportation funds. It provides a vantage point to examine how states are using the money, with a particular focus on the $527 million apportioned to Arizona.

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Report | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Transportation

Private Roads, Public Costs

Road privatization is a growing issue in the United States as politicians and transportation officials grapple with budget shortfalls. Toll road privatization takes two forms: the lease of existing toll roads to private operators and the construction of new roads by private entities. In both instances, private investors are granted the right to raise and collect toll revenue, a right that can amount to billions of dollars in profits for the shareholders.

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Report | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Transportation

Arizona's New Frontier

Over the past few decades, Arizona’s population has skyrocketed. This population growth has not been matched by public transportation investment, and Arizona’s resulting dependence on cars is hurting the state. High and wildly fluctuating gas prices add to Arizonans’ economic woes, traffic congestion wastes valuable time and energy, and our cars and trucks produce pollution that harms Arizonans’ health and contributes to global warming.

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Report | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Transportation

Economic Stimulus or Simply More Misguided Spending?

This fall, Congress asked states to submit lists of “ready-to-go” transportation infrastructure projects that could be funded by the stimulus package. Lists from nineteen state departments of transportation show that Congress, the Administration, and the states need to establish forward-looking rules for spending stimulus funds.

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Report | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Transportation

Build for America: A Five-Point Plan To Get Our Economy Moving

America’s transportation system — the network of highways, railroads, public transportation, walkways and bikeways — is the backbone of our economy. But today that system is broken. The interstates have been built and need upkeep. Bridges are crumbling. Many Americans—young, old, rural—are stranded without transportation choices that are affordable, efficient, and convenient.

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