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:

  • $11 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

Blog Post | Transportation

All Americans Deserve Clean Air to Breathe, On Earth Day and Every Day | Sean Doyle

U.S. DOT asks if we should measure global warming pollution from transportation.

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News Release | U.S.PIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection, Make VW Pay, Transportation

Framework for VW Settlement Announced

Statement by Mike Litt, Consumer Program Advocate at U.S. PIRG Education Fund, on todays announced VW settlement. For more details on what a strong settlement agreement ought to look like, please see the open letter that we released earlier this week with other consumer and environmental groups.

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Blog Post | Transportation

Owning Fewer Cars Isn’t Just For Millennials | Sean Doyle

New transportation options are making it easier for people to use transit more, own fewer cars, and even save money on transportation.

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Blog Post | Transportation

Pulling a FAST one on our Transportation Future | Sean Doyle

For the first time in a decade, and after roughly three dozen short-term extensions, Congress has pulled together and passed a transportation funding law lasting longer than two years. There is only one problem: the new law misses the mark.

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Blog Post | Transportation

Communities Roaring for More TIGER Grants | Sean Doyle

Across the country, municipalities are looking for more transportation funding, particularly for public transportation. A recent poll from Politico magazine found that among mayors, aging and deteriorating transportation infrastructure was the most often cited concern. Enter TIGER grants.

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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

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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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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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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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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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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Blog Post | Transportation

New TIFIA Rules Will Hurt the Public | Jason Donofrio

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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Blog Post

Faced with a choice over whether to keep light rail on track, Phoenix voters decided once again to give the transit option a green light.

Blog Post

Arizona PIRG is pleased that Phoenix citizens once again voted (4th time since 2000) to recognize light rail as a beneficial transportation and to keep light rail on track.

Blog Post

If you are a Phoenix voter that waited until today to cast your ballot, please read.

Blog Post

For all of us who rely on our roads and public transit, and our water, sewage and power systems, the agreement reached by President Trump and Democratic congressional leaders in May to commit $2 trillion to infrastructure should be good news.

Blog Post

When it comes to clean transportation, most U.S. states are underutilizing funds from Volkswagen’s nearly $3 billion settlement with federal authorities for violating emissions standards.

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