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

Report | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Transportation

Highway Boondoggles

Even though the Driving Boom is now over, state and federal governments continue to pour vast sums of money into the construction of new highways and expansion of old ones – at the expense of urgent needs such as road and bridge repairs, improvements in public transportation and other transportation priorities. Eleven proposed highway projects across the country – slated to cost at least $13 billion – exemplify the need for a fresh approach to transportation spending.

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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 | 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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News Release | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Transportation

Myth Busted: Road Costs in Arizona Not Covered by Gas Taxes

The Arizona PIRG Education Fund's new report, Do Roads Pay for Themselves? Setting the Record Straight on Transportation Funding, disproves the common misperception that road-building in Arizona and across the country is paid for by user fees. The report shows that gas taxes cover barely half the costs of building and maintaining roads, a fraction which is likely to fall steadily.

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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.

Report | Arizona PIRG Education Fund
News Release | Arizona PIRG Education Fund

A new report card from the Arizona PIRG Education Fund issued Arizona a failing grade for missing the opportunity to kick-start electric transportation and infrastructure through its use of funds from Volkswagen’s nearly $3 billion settlement.

Blog Post

Talk about a captive market: For most of us, it's next to impossible to work, shop or go to school without a car. Auto lenders are taking full advantage.

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