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"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.
“We’ve seen that our roads are congested, our air is polluted and people are spending endless amounts of time in traffic,” said Serena Unrein, a public interest advocate for the Arizona Public Interest Research Group.
The group held a news conference Monday at an unused passenger railroad station in downtown Phoenix to celebrate a recent vote by the State Transportation Board to approve the statewide rail plan.
The plan outlines potential rail projects that would expand passenger and freight rail across Arizona and make the state eligible to compete for federal funds.
One component is a three-year study looking into the possibility of creating a rail route that would link Tucson and Phoenix. It eventually would expand to include Prescott and Flagstaff in the north and Sierra Vista and Douglas in the south, Unrein said.
She said an estimated 11,400 vehicles make the trip daily between Phoenix and Tucson and said that number is expected to triple by 2050."
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