Plans for Hypothetical Train From Phoenix to Tucson OK'd by State Transportation Board

You might think Arizona needs a train connecting Phoenix to Tucson about as badly as the city of Tempe needs a fleet of snowplows: not at all. Either way, a plan to link the two cities via-a rail system earned approval from the state Transportation Board on Friday.

The board approved the State Rail Plan, which is the first of many (many) steps that could bring multi-city rail travel to the Grand Canyon State.

So now the big question: who's going to pay for it?

According to Serena Unrein, spokeswoman for the Arizona Public Interest Research Group, funding is still unclear, but Friday's approval from the Transportation Board allows the group to move forward with a three-year environmental study, which is required for the project to be eligible to apply for federal grants.

The approval also gives the green light to a study that will determine the best corridor for the Phoenix-Tucson line.

"This is a very critical step," Unrein tells New Times.

At the moment, Unrein says, there is no public transportation between Phoenix and Tucson. She says the only option aside from renting a car is to use a van service, which can get pretty pricey.

"Kudos to the Arizona Department of Transportation for their leadership and foresight in drafting the State Rail Plan," Unrein says.  "Now we need to move forward with implementing the State Rail Plan so we can give Arizonans better transportation options."

Click here to see a draft of the plan.

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