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Today leaders from the business community joined the Arizona PIRG Education Fund to celebrate the adoption of the State Rail Plan, which is the first-ever statewide plan for passenger and freight rail transportation in Arizona.
“Passenger rail will reduce traffic congestion and air pollution, while providing a safer and more reliable method of travel,” said Serena Unrein, Public Interest Advocate for the Arizona PIRG Education Fund. “The passage of the State Rail Plan is a crucial first step for bringing passenger rail across Arizona.”
The State Transportation Board approved the State Rail Plan unanimously at their meeting in Sahuarita last Friday. The Arizona PIRG Education Fund presented the Board with more than a thousand petition signatures in support of the State Rail Plan and more than 70 Arizona businesses who endorsed passenger rail connecting Phoenix and Tucson.
An Arizona PIRG Education Fund report released last fall noted the economic development potential that passenger rail brings. “The efficient movement of people and goods is the lifeblood of commerce,” said Eric Emmert of the East Valley Chambers of Commerce. “Passenger rail service is a needed component of an effective transportation system. Passenger rail has the potential to move large volumes of commuters and visitors from populated areas to job and event centers.”
The Arizona Department of Transportation will move forward with a study to determine the best corridor for the Phoenix-Tucson intercity rail and will work to get environmental clearance from the federal government, which will enable Arizona to apply for federal dollars.
“Kudos to the Arizona Department of Transportation for their leadership and foresight in drafting the State Rail Plan,” said Unrein. “Now we need to move forward with implementing the State Rail Plan so we can give Arizonans better transportation options.”
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