TUCSON, Ariz (KGUN) — If you’re interested in taking a passenger train to Phoenix, we have more details today about plans to make that happen.
Right now, passenger trains come through Tucson just three times a week running between California and Texas. The plan for Tucson to Phoenix calls for three trips per day.
Amtrak’s proposal counts on the idea that a lot of people would like to avoid driving themselves up and down I-10 and would let Amtrak give them a fast, convenient trip to Phoenix instead.
Amtrak says each of three trips per day would take about two and a half hours---comparable to a road trip in typical traffic. Amtrak did not predict what the fare might be.
The proposal forecasts about two hundred thousand riders per year. That’s still well below the traffic counts on I-10. ADOT says the intersection of I-10 and Ina alone gets more than 95 thousand trips per day.
But backers argue even if you don’t want to ride the train you might be happy to get on track with the economic boost they predict---about $77 million a year in development along the route.
Tucson Mayor Regina Romero compares it to more than a billion dollars in private investment that bloomed along less than four miles of Tucson’s Streetcar track.
She says, “From a purely economic development perspective, this new service will yield important benefits throughout our region, having a $1.9 billion economic impact in one time capital investment."
KGUN9 viewers seemed to like the idea. By KGUN9’s 6pm newscast our online poll showed 94% supporting the train line, five percent opposed and one percent undecided.
On KGUN Facebook a lot of posters simply said, yes!
Others were more skeptical or mixed. Phil wrote: I love trains, but this makes no sense, I vote no.
Patricia said, “I’ve been supporting the plan for more than 30 years. Let’s talk when it’s beyond the talking stages.”
This does depend on planning and money from Congress probably more than one point one billion for track and train stations. From approval to first ride could be about three years.