21st Century Transportation for Arizona

CONNECTING ARIZONA WITH RAIL—Arizonans drive more miles, experience more congestion and produce more pollution from transportation than they did two decades ago. Arizona PIRG is working to provide more transportation options for our state.

ARIZONANS NEED TRANSPORTATION OPTIONS

Our highways are plagued with congestion, regardless of how many we build or how quickly we expand them. Pollution is a growing problem, with more of our children being affected by asthma. And a strong economy relies on having strong infrastructure.

It’s clear that Arizona needs to update and expand our transportation system to meet our needs in the 21st century.

Passenger rail between Phoenix and Tucson, light rail, efficient bus systems, vanpool services and other public transit options should play a greater role in Arizona’s transportation future.

Working To Make Passenger Rail A Reality

No matter how many times we widen the I-10, it’s nearly impossible to drive between Phoenix and Tucson without getting stuck in traffic. The Arizona Department of Transportation estimates that by 2050 it will take more than 5 hours to drive between Phoenix and Tucson — after factoring in expansion of the I-10.

ADOT is moving forward to determine the best route and funding options for a Phoenix-Tucson passenger rail line. While important progress is being made, there are still a number of steps needed, including public input meetings, to bring passenger rail to Arizona. With your support, we can ensure Arizona’s leaders know that Arizonans want better transportation options.

Issue updates

News Release | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Transportation

Phoenix-Tucson Rail Creates Jobs, Save Millions

A new report released today by the Arizona PIRG Education Fund highlighted the benefits of connecting Phoenix and Tucson with passenger rail. The report, Connecting Phoenix and Tucson: The Benefits of Intercity Rail in the Sun Corridor, estimates that the economic benefits of intercity rail include: expanding labor market access for businesses, creating at least 30,000 job-years of employment, boosting local economies, and ensuring that the Phoenix-Tucson area remains attractive to young people, who increasingly prefer alternatives to driving.

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Report | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Transportation

Connecting Phoenix and Tucson

Over the past few decades, explosive population growth in Phoenix and Tucson has led the two cities to grow increasingly interconnected, socially and economically. It has also resulted in increasing traffic congestion problems, particularly on Interstate 10, which connects the two cities. With this growth expected to continue in years to come, Arizonans face a pressing need for improved transportation options. Passenger rail between Phoenix and Tucson can help meet the future transportation needs of the Sun Corridor.

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Media Hit | Transportation

Arizona Public Media: Arizonans Driving Less, Despite Population Gains

Americans are driving less for the first time since World War II, according to a new study from the Arizona PIRG Education Fund. In 2007, Arizonans drove more than 62 billion miles. Despite an increase in the state’s population, that figure decreased by almost three billion miles in 2010.

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News Release | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Transportation

New Report: Long-Term Drop in How Much People Drive, Youth Desire More Transportation Options

A new report released by the Arizona PIRG Education Fund demonstrates that Americans have been driving less since the middle of last decade. The report shows that young people in particular are decreasing the amount they drive and increasing their use of transportation alternatives.

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Report | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Transportation

Transportation & the New Generation

From World War II until just a few years ago, the number of miles driven annually on America’s roads steadily increased. Then, at the turn of the century, something changed: Americans began driving less. By 2011, the average American was driving 6 percent fewer miles per year than in 2004. The trend away from driving has been led by young people.

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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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News Release | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Transportation

Arizona’s Seniors Will Face Poor Mobility Options

By 2015, at least 56 percent of Phoenix-area residents ages 65 and older will live in communities where public transportation service is poor or non-existent, a new study shows. That number is expected to continue to grow rapidly as the baby boom generation “ages in place” in suburbs and exurbs with few mobility options for those who do not drive.

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Media Hit | Transportation

Guest Commentary: Arizona needs a 21st century public transportation system

For the first time, Arizona's State Transportation Board approved a state rail plan which includes connecting the major metropolitan areas of Phoenix and Tucson by passenger rail. In a state known for its reliance on single-occupant vehicles and its lack of good public transportation, this is a crucial step forward for providing Arizonans with better transportation options.

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News Release | Arizona PIRG | Transportation

Arizona’s Bridges Among Best Maintained in the Nation

Arizona drivers cross fewer troubled bridges than residents in most states, thanks to a “fix it-first” commitment to ensuring that existing roads and bridges are maintained before new ones are built, a new analysis of federal data shows.  In a ranking of bridges from worst to best, Arizona ranks 48th, meaning it has the best-maintained bridges of all but three other states.

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News Release | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Transportation

State Rail Plan approved; Arizona on track for passenger rail

Today leaders from the business community joined the Arizona PIRG Education Fund to celebrate the adoption of the State Rail Plan, which is the first-ever statewide plan for passenger and freight rail transportation in Arizona.

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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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Report | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Transportation

Squandering the Stimulus

America’s dependence on oil has become increasingly painful. Two thirds of oil in the United States goes to transportation, with the largest share consumed by cars and trucks. As the rising price of gasoline makes driving more expensive, Americans have sought alternatives by driving a little less and riding public transportation more.

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Report | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Transportation

A Better Way to Go

America’s automobile-centered transportation system was a key component of the nation’s economic prosperity during the 20th century. But our transportation system is increasingly out of step with the challenges of the 21st century.

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Priority Action

Tell the Arizona Department of Transportation why you want to see a passenger rail line built between Phoenix and Tucson.

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