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

Blog Post | Transportation

To Build A 21st Century America, Start Here | Jeff Robinson

The stakes in the current infrastructure debate are high. But what matters most is not the size of any federal infrastructure package, nor how it is financed, nor even how many jobs it creates in the coming years. What matters most is building the infrastructure that will enable America to respond to the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century.

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News Release | Transportation

Highway Administration Reinstates Clean Air Rule In Response to Lawsuit

In a victory for climate and clean air, the Federal Highway Administration responded to a lawsuit brought by U.S. PIRG, NRDC, and the Southern Environmental Law Center on behalf of Clean Air Carolina by reinstating a federal requirement that state and local planners track and curb carbon pollution from cars and trucks on the national highways, which is a major contributor to climate change.

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Report | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Transportation

An Analysis of the Volkswagen Settlement

Volkswagen vehicles emitted pollutants by as much as 40 times the legal limit. Arizonans who thought they were driving cleaner cars were actually pouring huge amounts of pollution into our air every time they drove.  It is critical that 100% of the funds be invested in the cleanest options available. 

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Blog Post | Transportation

Clean Transportation Doesn’t Need To Be A Distant Utopia | John Olivieri

For many, when they think of combating global warming, they think of solar panels on rooftops and eliminating coal fired power plants. But, the truth is, there is not an effective solution to address global warming that does not deal with transportation as well.

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Blog Post | Transportation

A World Without Carbon Pollution – Closer Than You Might Think | John Olivieri

For many, a world without carbon pollution seems like a distant utopia. To some, this even seems unobtainable. The size and scope of the challenge before us can be daunting, yet, there is good news -- a world without carbon pollution is closer than you think.

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News Release | Arizona PIRG | Transportation

U.S. House Proposal Threatens to Defund Public Transportation

Statement of Serena Unrein, Public Interest Advocate for Arizona PIRG), on the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee surface transportation bill to fund all federal investment in transportation over the next five years (H.R. 3864):  

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News Release | Arizona PIRG | Transportation

Advocates Say New Transportation Bill is a Step Backwards

Statement of Serena Unrein, Public Interest Advocate for Arizona PIRG, on the transportation reauthorization bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives.

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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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Report | Arizona PIRG | Transportation

What We Learned From the Stimulus

The latest data on stimulus spending show that funds spent on public transportation were a more effective job creator than stimulus funds spent on highways. In the 10 months since the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) was signed, investing in public transportation produced twice as many jobs per dollar as investing in road.

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Report | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Transportation

Greasing the Wheels

In the wake of the Minnesota I-35 bridge collapse, there was enormous public outcry and recognition of the need to repair our crumbling infrastructure. Americans expected public officials to respond to the tragedy with a large scale effort to address the nearly 73,000 structurally deficient bridges in this country. The findings in this report suggest that did not happen.

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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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Blog Post | Transportation

It's time to restore transit funding in Arizona | Jason Donofrio

Arizona PIRG is urging lawmakers to pass HB2594 and restore funding for the Local Transportation Assistance Fund, or LTAF, which was a vital source of funding for communities across the state to have transit programs.

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Blog Post | Transportation

A Trillion Fewer Driving Miles? | Jason Donofrio

It’s now common knowledge that annual changes in the volume of driving no longer follow the old ways. In July 2012, Americans clocked over 258 billion miles behind the wheel, a billion fewer miles than the previous July despite a slightly stronger economy and cheaper gasoline.

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Blog Post | Transportation

US House Transportation Bill for the 19th Century, not the 21st Century | Jason Donofrio

With much fanfare and 854 days late, the U.S. House last week introduced bills to fund our nation's transportation system for the next five years. The new rules for spending $260 billion over five years would be tilted more toward highways with less going to buses, rail, biking and pedestrian trails.

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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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Report | Arizona PIRG Education Fund

The Ready to Charge fact sheet by the Arizona PIRG Education Fund and Frontier Group emphasizes that Arizona needs more charging capacity to support electric vehicle adoption and notes policies that can help promote EV adoption: expand public charging capacity, make EV chargers more accessible by increasing interoperability, and increase the visibility and price transparency of public charging stations.

News Release | Arizona PIRG Education Fund

As state and national policymakers seek solutions to improve infrastructure, the Arizona PIRG Education Fund and Frontier Group’s new report, Transform Transportation, provides a roadmap the organizations say will “steer Arizona towards transportation options to save consumers money and protect public health”.

Report | Arizona PIRG Education Fund

By rebuilding our transportation system to give more people the option to spend less time in a car, by expanding access to active means of travel such as walking and biking, and by adopting zero-emission electric cars and buses, we can make our transportation safer, healthier, cleaner and more efficient.

Report | Arizona PIRG Education Fund

Electric utilities have a lot to gain from the large-scale adoption of electric school buses, and could play a major role in supporting the transition. Electric buses can expand and stabilize the grid, provide surplus energy storage, and increase energy demand. By providing discounted rates on electric bus charging and building charging infrastructure, utilities can help speed the adoption of electric buses. Utilities can also support electric buses by investing in infrastructure for bus charging in depots and on routes, helping to finance the upfront purchasing costs of electric buses, and introducing smart charging systems to maximize integration of renewable energy. 

Blog Post

From mask mandates to capacity limits, the largest public transit systems and ride share companies have new procedures

Transportation

Transform Transportation

Arizona can steer away from traffic jams and car accidents and drive towards a future with less cost for consumers and reduced air pollution and adverse public health impacts from vehicles on our roads.

 

Transportation

House approves spending bill that takes the right tack on climate crisis

The House has passed a major appropriations bill that, if approved by the Senate, would help improve our country's climate trajectory. The legislation includes includes money for modernizing the U.S. electric grid and energy supply infrastructure as well as $19 billion for public transit and $1.4 billion for electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

 

Transportation

Bill to modernize transportation heads to Senate

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a $1.5 trillion infrastructure package with provisions that prioritize repairing existing infrastructure before funding new expansions, and increase investment in electric vehicles, public transportation, and biking and walking options.

 

Transportation

House transportation bill prioritizes fixing infrastructure, sustainable investment

Federal lawmakers have put forward the INVEST in America Act — a nearly $500 billion transportation spending bill which prioritizes repairing existing infrastructure over new highway projects, and contains key provisions for more sustainable investments.

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

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