1996 News Wrapup December 31st, 1996
- “Sunset Limited may soon pull in to ‘new’ old station in Maricopa” Arizona Republic, 30 December 96, page B1. Funds may be approved to renovate Rillito station and move it to Maricopa, Arizona, for a station stop.
- “It’s time to board mass-transit cure” The Business Journal of Phoenix, 23 December 96. “…Our initial reaction is that if Arizona Public Service Co. and the Downtown Phoenix Partnership can get Amtrak to provide experimental rail service from Tempe to the APS Palo Verde plant, it’s time to get on board.”
- “A Crackdown On Pollution: Some good ideas” Editorial, Arizona Republic, 22 December 96, page H4. “The governor… is prepared to contribute $10 million in state funds to launch a rail transit system. …[A] Symington commitment to rail and mass transit should be applauded.”
- “$150,000 marked to rail-service study” Arizona Republic 17 December 96, page B1. Glendale joins the cities of Phoenix, Tempe, Scottsdale, Mesa, the Maricopa Association of Governments, and the Regional Public Transportation Authority in their rail service study.
- “Conservative pundit backs mass transit” Arizona Republic 13 December 96, page B1. Paul Weyrich, in Phoenix for the Arizona Transit Association’s legislative conference, “and part of a growing movement to promote transit in the Valley” said, “The road to better mass transit is going to pass through Conservative City, so learn how to negotiate it.” [article by Mary Jo Pitzl] [See also the RAILPAC review of "Conservatives and Mass Transit"]
- “Riding the Rails” Business Journal, 13 December 96, by David Schwartz. Article addresses an experimental rail service being considered by several community and business leaders. The service would operate on a trial basis of 30 to 60 days between downtown Tempe and APS’ Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station. Supporters hope to provide this experimental service in the Spring of 1997. QUOTE: According to Ed Fox, APS Vice President of environmental health and safety, “We think that a demonstration project like this can capture the imagination of the public, and silence some of the naysayers that say it won’t work.”
- “Clouding the debate: Air looks dirtier yet some say it’s cleaner” Arizona Republic, 8 December 96, page A1; by Mary Jo Pitzl.
- “Valley pollution levels landing in danger zone” Arizona Republic, 6 December 96, page A1; by Mary Jo Pitzl.
- “Central Avenue bus line has its good, bad points; Concilman salvages rider’s situation” Arizona Republic 25 November 96
- “Is Valley on the right track with mass transit?” Business Journal Poll, The Business Journal of Phoenix, November 25, 1996
- “Transit issue has busload of volunteers for task force” Arizona Republic 20 November 96, Community page 6. In Phoenix, three hundred ten persons attended transit forums this fall, and over a thousand persons mailed in comment cards. More than 70 percent wanted more bus service, with the desire for rail a close second, separated by just a few percentage points. This strong support surprised city officials, who noted that 52 percent of participants had never used the city buses before.
- “Broken rail joiner caused train derailment” Arizona Republic, 19 November 96, page B2. Metal fatigue caused derailment (see below).
- “Derailment of freight train kills man” Arizona Republic, 17 November 96, page A1. Transient riding in doublestack car is crushed when container train derails. Follow-up story describes Amtrak’s Sunset Limited reroute through Phoenix.
- “Riding rails into history at Hub City” Arizona Republic, 14 November 96, page OT1; by Marty Campbell. Review of a recent experience on the San Pedro and Southwestern. The Gray Hawk makes a 54-mile round trip run between the Benson and the ruins of the raucous river camp of Charleston. QUOTE: “To really appreciate the splendor of the San Pedro, and get a handle on Arizona history, you gotta ride the rails” — Jay Gammons
- “Chandler poll gives hope for transit tax” Arizona Republic, 30 October 96, Community page 12. “Most residents want to raise taxes to fund a mass transit plan similar to one recently approved by Tempe voters, according to a poll, even though nearly 90 percent don’t ride buses… 73 percent said it’s very or somewhat important to have rapid transit.”
- “Mass-transit system worth cost, residents say” Arizona Republic, 23 October 96, page A10; by Mary Jo Pitzl. Summary of October 17th transit forum. 70% of participants favor more buses, and 68% favor rail service.
- Mass transit survey; KPHO CBS 10pm news, 22 October 1996. KPHO presented the results of a call-in survey and announced that results of the valley-wide Transit Forums would determine the future course of transit planning. The results of the survey were: 89% mass transit is critically needed; 5% somewhat needed; 5% not required.
- “Valley air has ‘scary’ prospects” Arizona Republic, 21 Oct 96, page B1. Grim predictions for the Valley’s future air quality. State and local officals must come up with a plan by the end of 1998 to reduce the pollutants, and metropolitan Phoenix must meet EPA air-quality standards by 2000 or risk losing its federal highway funding.
- “It’s the density, stupid” Arizona Republic 17 October 1996; Letter to the Editor, by Pete Corpstein. Rebuttal to October 9th article by Catherine O’Keefe comparing Phoenix to San Francisco. Differing geographic size, population density, and government subsidy make the former comparison invalid.
- “More freeways, more bad air” Arizona Republic, 14 October 1996; Letter to the Editor by Sandy Bahr. Criticism of Congressman Kolbe’s plan to introduce legislation to eliminate federal penalties for the state’s failure to meet clean air standards. QUOTES: “Arizona has done little to clean up the air without the threat of federal sanctions, citizen lawsuits, or both.” “Unfortunately, many of our efforts to control pollution have been offset by a refusal to address uncontrolled growth or the need for mass transit.”
- “Let’s not dismantle rail passenger system” Viewpoint, Kay Bailey Hutchison, Dallas Morning News, 13 October 1996. “Passenger rail service is an essential part of our state’s transportation network. My vision for a modern transportation network in Texas includes (1) smooth highways for car and bus passengers, (2) rail stations served by both passenger and freight lines and (3) feeder highways and commuter trains that serve major airport hubs. “Such is the case in Dallas and Fort Worth, where Amtrak and municipal transit services are accessible at one terminalâ€¦ We can’t preside over a slow dismantling of our national rail systemâ€¦ Instead, we should be looking for ways to improve and maintain a national rail system to ensure a strong transportation network.”
- “Future of transit/Gaining momentum” Editorial; Arizona Republic, 11 October 1996; by Paul J. Schatt. QUOTES: “A welcome momentum is building. Business and political leaders are envisioning a future that brings mass transit into the transportation mix that includes freeways and major arterials.” “Support for raising taxes to pay for transit jumps when people know what they will be buying.”
- “Transit Sales Tax backed at Forum / Half-cent to fund buses, light rail” Arizona Republic, 9 October 1996; by Mary Jo Pitzl. Goal of the forums is to get a sense of people’s transit needs and how to pay for them in anticipation of a fall 1997 vote on a transit tax. QUOTES: “Increasingly, residents are likening Phoenix’s transit system to the Dark Ages, and believe something needs to be done to improve air quality” — Peggy Bilstein, Phoenix Councilwoman. “I find it [rail] a very attractive and exciting idea. Rapid transit is a great idea, but it has to work financially.” — Gov. Fife Symington III
- “Car’s blessings near end of the road — Bangkok to LA, it’s become a curse” Arizona Republic, 8 Oct 96, page B5
- “Traffic myths stall debate on solutions” Arizona Republic, 6 Oct 96, page H1. Conventional wisdom (that highways are the answer to Arizona’s traffic congestion problems) is wrong; transit should be part of the transportation mix in metro Phoenix.
- “Amtrak gets aid to keep routes open” Arizona Republic, 30 Sep 96, page A4
- “A look at bus service” by Chris Moeser; Arizona Republic, 23 September 1996, Community page 1. Mesa considers following Tempe’s successful transit referendum.
- “Vice mayor: Transit tax unlikely answer in Mesa” Mesa Tribune, 20 Sep 96, page B1
- “Symington supports test of light-rail system — Gov. Fife Symington said subsidies for a limited light-rail system might be appropriate: ‘It depends on how great the burden is.’” Mesa Tribune
- “Spark of support of mass transit” Mesa Tribune, 23 September 1996, page A6.
- “Better transit takes effort by all” by Valerie Manning, President and CEO, Phoenix Chamber of Commerce; Arizona Republic, 5 September 1996, page E2. “Residents must consider using public transit, transportation leaders must develop options to building freeways, business must create a transit-friendly workplace and elected officials must change policies that favor the car as the only means of travel.”
- The following items from the Denver Post demonstrate the success of that city’s light rail line:
- “Funding for light rail gets green light — Congress OKs $1.5 million to RTD” Denver Post, 12 Sept 1996
- “Chamber lines up behind light rail” “The Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce yesterday threw its support behind the light-rail line planned along Santa Fe Drive to the southern suburbs, offering key business muscle in a crucial week for the transit project.” Denver Post, 11 Sep 1996
- “‘Burbs bullish on light rail — RTD, cities band in effort to make SW line a success” Denver Post, 13 Sep 96
- “Passenger rail riding high — Throughout the nation, new projects go on track” Denver Post, 16 Sep 96
- “High-tech commuter train of future rolls into Denver” Mesa Tribune, 24 August 1996, page C9 (Business). The Danish-built IC3 Flexliner, “equipped with fax machines, outlets for laptop computers, and payphones,” is designed for distances of 300 to 500 miles (note: Phoenix – Los Angeles is approximately 380 miles, and Tucson – Los Angeles approximately 500).
- “Letter to the Editor,” Jody Dickenson, Arizona Republic, August 17, 1996, page B8, Argument against mass transit. Cities pay too much. Argues that users should pay full cost of transit systems.
- “Sale of railroad puts tracks on hold,” Staff , Arizona Republic, August 16, 1996, page B1, SP spokesman, Jack Martin, says decision on whether to rip rails out or upgrade is expected to be on hold for a year. Merger of SP in UP effective on 11 September 1996.
- “In Boise and Other Points West, Train Whistles Are Falling Silent as Ridership Declines” by Dirk Johnson; Wall Street Journal, 16 August, 1996. Discontinuance of the Pioneer will be yet another blow to Boise, which only recently purchased its train station for an intermodal transportation center.
- “Firms putting on the dog for elephant herd,” Kris Mayes, Arizona Republic, August 14, 1996, page R4, Corporations sponsoring public events at Republican convention. Union Pacific supplied train and sponsored tribute to Arizona senator Jon Kyl.
- “For Riders in 42 Cities, It’s the End of the Line. Amtrak Taking 3,000 Miles Out of Service” Don Phillips; The Washington Post, 9 August 1996
- “Faced with budget shortfall, Amtrak to change its service.” Arizona Republic, 9 August 1996, page A26. Details in the ARPA October Timetable.
- “Smog result of politicians’ rejection of mass transit,” Steve Doncaster, Arizona Republic, August 8, 1996, Criticizes government officials for not pursuing mass transit alternatives.
- “Options studied for Grand Avenue,” Mike Padgett , Arizona Republic, August 7, 1996, page NW3, Committee appointed to study future of Grand Avenue improvement.
- “Pollution report: Mass transit anyone?” Editorial; Mesa Tribune, 5 August 1996, page A6.
- “Transit should catch conservatives’ eyes” by Keven Willey; Mesa Tribune, 31 July 1996, page B2. Paul Weyrich and William S. Lind’s report “Conservatives and Mass Transit: Is it Time for a New Look?” should give Arizona officials pause to reconsider mass transportation options in their State.
- “Air quality agency fairs poorly in audit / key polluters not inspected,” report says, Mike McCloy, Arizona Republic, July 24, 1996, page B1, States that Department of Environmental Services is not properly monitoring air quality.
- “Ozone levels for Valley exceed rules / US pollution sanctions possible ,” Mary Jo Pitzl, Arizona Republic, July 24, 1996, page A1, Poor air quality in Valley.
- “Transit must be addressed in Valley,” Norm Chafetz , Arizona Republic, July 20. 1996, Supports transit in Valley. Compares Phoenix to other metropolitan areas.
- Light idea: cities to study rail system/cities tackle transit after rejecting Governor’s plan, Mark J. Scarp, Scottsdale Progress/Tribune and Mesa Tribune, July 18, 1996, page A1, Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale and Tempe paying for their own study of transit alternatives including rail.
- “Light idea: Cities to study rail system” Scottsdale Progress, 18 July 1996, page A-1. With follow-up “Cities tackle transit after rejecting governor’s plan” on page A-5.
- “EPA sued over air in Valley,” Mary Jo Pitzl , Arizona Republic, July 12, 1996, page B1, Article on lawsuit filed by Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest. Lawsuit contends that EPA is lax on enforcement of air quality standards in the Valley. Focuses on carbon monoxide readings
- “Maricopa gets back on tracks,” Michelle Crouch , Arizona Republic, July 12, 1996, page E1, Transfer of Amtrak’s Sunset Limited stop from Phoenix to Maricopa.
- “The chubby grocer lashes out,” John Dougherty , New Times, July 11-17, 1996, page 10, Article on Eddie Basha and his views of current Arizona administration.
- “Freeway plan looks like work of preoccupied man,” Steve Wilson, Arizona Republic, July 10, 1996, page A2, Column questions freeway proposal of Governor Fife Symington and states mass transit must be a major component of any plan.
- “Heads down, eyes shaded as we drive into sprawl’s glare” by Stephen Tuttle; Arizona Republic, 7 July 1996, page H3.
- “Symington’s freeway plan/serious questions abound,” Paul Schatt, Arizona Republic, July 7, 1996, Questions Governor’s freeway plan; suggests mass transit needs to be part of any future plan.
- “Boston-NYC railroad in works,” Staff , Arizona Republic, July 7, 1996, page A20, Newsclip on electrification of Boston-New York Amtrak corridor.
- “Light rail needed in anti-smog plan.” Business Journal Serving Phoenix and the Valley of the Sun, 5 July 1996, Vol 16 #36 page 54. Editorial; Focuses on air pollution control in Phoenix. Proposal for the construction of a commuter rail system; Attribution of the area’s air pollution to the use of automobiles.
- “Railroads’ merger approved,” Staff , Arizona Republic, July 4, 1996, page E1, Newsclip on merger of UP/SP approval.
- “Valley cities can’t board the mass-transit express alone,” Jay Tibshraeny;, Arizona Republic, 2 July 1996, page B4
- “Panelists should take the bus,” Bodo Diehn , Arizona Republic, July 2, 1996, Criticizes panelists of Ozone Task Force for traveling to meetings alone in their cars.
- “City dwellers enjoy the hub, bub: New development takes advantage of what downtown offers” by Broderick Perkins; Arizona Republic, 29 June 1996, page EV3. Downtown living, near shopping, offices, and mass transit is increasingly attractive.
- “The hard road/far behind on transit,” Paul Schatt , Arizona Republic, June 29, 1996, Editoral on the need for mass transit in the Valley.
- “Governor weighs idea for transit – Sales-tas extension sought,” The Arizona Republic, June 26, 1996, Governor weighing idea to extend sales tax for freeway construction and public transportation.
- “Time to Make Plans – and Tracks” Op-ed by Jessica Mathews; Washington Post, 24 June 1996. The United States should follow the lead of other countries and rebuild its passenger rail systems. (Reprinted in the Tucson Citizen on 5 July 1996 under the headline “Urgent steps should be taken to revive passenger rail travel.”
- “DART rail crosses into lives of property owners: Agency ironing out bugs to keep residents happy” Dallas Morning News, 24 June 1996, page 11A. Residents along the new DART transit line are giving high marks to this quiet, relatively unobtrusive new neighbor.
- “Valley Transit Lags. Dallas passes Phoenix, gets light rail,” Mary Jo Pitzl, Arizona Republic, 23 June 1996, page A1, Extensive article on Dallas new light rail system. Compares Phoenix lack of mass transit to other major in the West.
- “DART hits bull’s-eye with Texans” by Mary Jo Pitzl, Arizona Republic, 23 June 1996, page A22
- “Tempe tax hike would add new buses,” Arizona Republic, 23 June 1996, page A22
- “DART ready to make bus shuffle” Dallas realigns many bus routes to meet new rail lines. Dallas Morning News, 23 June 1996, page 29A
- “Downtown’s borders expanding as development booms on fringes” The McKinney Avenue Trolley (a heritage streetcar line) and the new DART light rail line are just a part of the forces reshaping the boundaries of “Downtown” Dallas. Dallas Morning News, 23 June 1996, page 32A
- “Real figures prove need for rail transit in Valley” The population density within the urbanized area of Phoenix is 2,707 persons per square mile, 21st in the nation — far higher than the widely reported density which includes many thousands of square miles in Maricopa County. Seventeen of the 20 most populated Urbanized areas have rail transportation. Letter by Dick Thomas, Arizona Republic, 16 June 1996, page H4.
- “Requiem for the railway:Valley’s major metropolitan-area status knocked down a notch by loss of Amtrak Sunset Limited ” Lloyd Clark, Tribune Newspapers, 9 June 1996, page C1. Reprinted by permission of the author.
- “Radical Concept: Visionary leadership can make efficient public transit reality” by Karen Peters, Tribune Newspapers, 5 June 1996, page A11. Reprinted by permission of the author.
- “End of the Line,” The Arizona Republic, June 3, 1996, Pictures and article on last Amtrak Sunset Limited through Phoenix
- “Last Amtrak train to roll out of Phoenix on Sunday night,” Staff, Arizona Republic, June 1, 1996, page B1, Article covering termination of Amtrak service to Phoenix
- “‘Everything’ is on table to cut Valley pollution,” William H. Carlile, Arizona Republic, May 30, 1996, page A1, Article on study by Governor’s task force to cut Valley pollution.
- “All aboard, Phoenix” Letter by Marc Pearsall, Arizona Republic, 28 May 1996, page B4.
- “Sunday will be end of the line for Amtrak’s rail stops in Phoenix,” Staff, Arizona Republic, May 27, 1996, page B1, Update on termination of Amtrak service to Phoenix and Tempe.
- “Smooth ride isn’t part of train’s charm,” Richard Nilsen, Arizona Republic, May 26, 1996, page T1, Travel article on Amtrak trip from New York to Seattle.
- “Governor declares pollution emergency/hopes to prevent ozone reclassification by EPA,” Mary Jo Pitzl, Arizona Republic, May 25, 1996, Article on Governor’s attempts to deal with Valley’s pollution problems.
- “Phoenix tops 1 million/county’s population surges 20%,” Judy Nichols, Arizona Republic, May 24, 1996, page A1, Article on Phoenix population growth and Maricopa County population increasing 20% to 2.6 million.
- “Mass transit sales-tax hike to placed on Tempe ballot,” The Arizona Republic, May 17, 1996, Article on mass transit tax vote in Tempe to be on ballot Sept 10
- “Amtrak’s final departure/fast rail to 21st century,” Paul Schatt, Arizona Republic, May 11, 1996, Editorial on Amtrak termination of service to Phoenix and possibilities of future high speed rail to Phoenix and Tucson to California.
- “Without mass-transit system, Valley growth may choke us” Arizona Republic, 10 May 1996, page A2
- “Rail sabotage unsolved,” Arizona Republic, 10 May 1996, page B1
- “Amtrak likely to end Phoenix service. Train station sign announces June 1 cutoff.” Arizona Republic, 2 May 1996, page B1
March – April
- “Driving Toward Gridlock?” Phoenix Gazette, 30 April 1996, page B5. Discussion of quality of life in Phoenix; remarks from Terry Goddard and others indicate transit should be part of the solution.
- “Mass-transit plans that ask people to change lifestyles will prove unworkable for Valley” Tribune Newspapers, 28 April 1996, page C3.
- “The sun may be setting on Valley’s rail romance” Arizona Republic, 28 April 1996, page T1.
- “Surprise girds for growth of train,” automobile traffic, Mike Padgett, Arizona Republic, April 19, 1996, page NW4, Article on traffic planning in the city of Surprise to compensate for increased rail traffic on BNSF and increased automobile congestion.
- “Transit Benefits Everyone” Letter by Daniel Weichart; Arizona Republic, 17 April 1996, page B4.
- Letter, “Rail service will help relieve pollution” Sun Cities Daily News Sun, 26 March 1996. By Robert A. Hart. Reprinted with permission of the author.
- “Rail firm looks into possibility of train connection with Mexico” Kyle Railways link at Naco. Arizona Republic, March 10, 1996, page B2.
- “Trains, trolleys, and buses part of a transit system” Letter to the editor from ARPA. Arizona Republic, March 9, 1996, page B9.
- Amtrak service suspension delayed. Arizona Rail Passenger Association, March 3, 1996.
January – February
- “Status of AMTRAK service to the Phoenix metropolitan area.” Arizona Rail Passenger Association Press Release, February 28, 1996.
- “Urban plan can fight smog” Letters to the Editor. Arizona Republic, February 24, 1996.
- “Local heroes to carry Olympic torch” Olympic torch train to arrive Phoenix from Yuma on 30 April 96. Arizona Republic, February 16, 1996, page B3.
- “Rimsza urges curbs on juvenile smoking” State of the City address in which Rimsza calls for Phoenix-Sky Harbor mass transit. Arizona Republic, February 15, 1996, page A1.
- “Albuquerque, Portland clean up their acts, skies” Mass transit weans commuters, shoppers from cars. Arizona Republic, February 9, 1996, page A1.
- “Businesses support freeways and transit” Business Journal Serving Phoenix & the Valley of the Sun, 9 February 1996, Vol 16 # 15, p. 13. Reports that businesses in Phoenix support the building of freeways and mass transit. Report of Phoenix Chamber of Commerce; Need for a multiple approach to transportation.
- “Rural folks sick of FBI decry tactics in Amtrak probe,” Dennis Wagner, Arizona Republic, January 14 1996, page A1, Extensive article on FBI probe of Amtrak Sunset Limited accident
- “The Greyhound Turnaround” In 1994, the Dallas-based bus company was on the brink of financial collapse. Today, a new CEO is leading it toward profitability. Dallas Morning News, January 14, 1996, page H1.
- “Game provides good excuse for party” Special UP train from Omaha. Picture, train at Tempe depot. Tempe Daily News/Tribune, January 3, 1996, page A1.
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