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

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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Report | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Transportation

High-Speed Rail: Public, Private or Both?

Private sector companies are likely to play a major role in the construction of high-speed rail lines in the United States. Public-private partnerships – or “PPPs” – have come to play an important role in the construction of high-speed rail lines around the world. The experience with high-speed rail PPPs, however, has been mixed.

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Blog Post | Transportation

New TIFIA Rules Will Hurt the Public | Serena Unrein

The one major transportation program that was significantly expanded in last week's new surface transportation bill was TIFIA, the federal loan program meant to complement other forms of financing for major transportation projects. In expanding the program, Congress also transformed the program from one in which performance critieria were used to select which proposals most deserved tax dollars into a first-come-first-served pool that will no longer prioritize projects that provide the most public benefits.

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Media Hit | Transportation

Cronkite News Service: Supporters celebrate board’s approval of passenger rail

A statewide rail plan that would start by linking Tucson and Phoenix is a step toward giving Arizona residents a transportation option that would relieve traffic congestion and improve air quality, an interest group contends.

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News Release | Arizona PIRG | Transportation

As Arizona Gas Prices Increase, ‘Mad Men’ Make Pitch for High Speed Rail

Two lead actors from the hit television show Mad Men throw their support behind high-speed rail in a humorous new online video posted today on Funnyordie.com. The actors worked with Arizona PIRG and U.S. PIRG to develop the video in conjunction with the popular online video site as a way to reach new audiences and build excitement for high-speed rail projects around the country.

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News Release | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Transportation

Obama Budget Seeks Major Boost in Transportation Investment

Statement of Serena Unrein, Public Interest Advocate for the Arizona PIRG Education Fund, on the Obama administration’s FY 2012 transportation budget proposal, which includes a major increase in transportation funding and an $8 billion annual investment in high-speed rail.

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News Release | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Transportation

Bold New Federal High-Speed Rail Plan Can Bring Benefits to Arizona

Statement of Serena Unrein, Public Interest Advocate for the Arizona PIRG Education Fund, on Vice President Joseph Biden and Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood’s announcement that the administration plans to invest $53 billion over the next six years in high-speed rail.

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News Release | Arizona PIRG | Transportation

President’s Goal: Connecting 80 Percent of Americans with High-Speed Rail

Statement of Arizona PIRG Public Interest Advocate Serena Unrein on President Obama’s remarks on infrastructure in the State of the Union Address.

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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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