Phoenix Business Journal - by Jan Buchholz
Arizona was awarded a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to conduct a planning study on the environmental impacts of passenger rail service between Phoenix and Tucson.
The grant would complete the environmental analysis necessary for project development, according to a written statement from the federal agency.
The proposed rail plan would operate trains at speeds up to 125 miles per hour with up to 15 rail stations between the two Arizona cities. Currently there is no daily service between Phoenix and Tucson. It’s estimated that daily rail service would attract 1.2 million passengers annually.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary Peters, the former director of the Arizona Department of Transportation, released data Tuesday showing that Americans drove 9.6 billion fewer miles in July 2008 compared with July 2007. At the same time, transit ridership increased 11 percent. Amtrak had its busiest month ever in July.
The $1 million grant Arizona received is a matching grant and is part of a $30 million grant program that will be shared with several other states, including California, Illinois, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.