1999 News Wrapup (Jan-Mar) March 31st, 1999
- “Incremental High Speed Rail: The possible dream” by William C. Vantuono, Railway Age, March 1999, page 16. QUOTES: “The demise of Florida Overland eXpress brings the high speed rail movement to a juncture, and it’s time we realize that our track record with 200-mph TGV-type systems clearly shows that further attempts at such massive undertakings are ill-advised, despite good intentions… It’s time to choose a firm direction and give priority to more-realistic alternatives… What we should be doing is more of those projects… like the Amtrak Cascades Talgo, which has attracted scores of new riders to intercity rail, and which would not have been possible without the commitment of BNSF to making incremental right-of-way improvements…”
- “Residents back trains in survey by railroad” By Larry Sandler, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, March 30, 1999. QUOTE: “Most Wisconsin residents support the use of limited state funding to expand passenger train service, according to a statewide poll commissioned by a railroad that wants $75 million in public money to do just that.”
- “Rights of way: Transit officials ponder putting land to better use” by Angela Gonzales, The Business Journal (Phoenix), 29 March 1999. QUOTES: “Maybe, [Maricopa County supervisor Don] Stapley said, officials could close Grand Avenue to all automobiles and make it a transit line…”
- “Light rail Supporters gain momentum for Mesa-Phoenix link” by Mike Padgett, The Business Journal of Phoenix, 29 March 1999. QUOTES: “A proposed light-rail system linking the downtowns of Phoenix, Tempe and Mesa has been thrust from the wings into the spotlight.”
- “Phoenix Councilwoman Peggy Bilsten, chairwoman of the city’s transportation committee, said other modes of transportation are the key to encouraging commuters to leave their cars at home… ‘I’m a supporter of light rail,’ Bilsten said. ‘I absolutely think it will work. I think light rail is very important to the success of this community. And at the rate this city is growing, we’ve got to move on it.’”
- “Gov. Jane Hull’s Transportation Vision 21 Task Force is expected to review a March 1998 report from the Phoenix-Tucson High Speed Rail Task Force. It recommended a system of five daily trains with a two-hour travel time between the cities.”
- “Train A-Comin’” Fort Worth Star Telegram 29 March 1999. Groundbreaking in downtown Ft. Worth for the expansion of the Trinity Rail Express line from Dallas into Ft. Worth. QUOTE: “As early as the fall of next year, you should be able to park your car in downtown Fort Worth or other Tarrant County locations and hop a train to Dallas. You can leave your road rage behind as you enjoy riding a double-decker Trinity Railway Express car.”
- “Update: 2,000 a day ride Altamont train” The Sacramento Bee, 29 March 1999. QUOTES: “The Altamont Commuter Express that connects Stockton and San Jose by train debuted in October… The two trains together carry about 2,000 riders each day, and are generally about 80 percent full… A recent survey showed that 79 percent of train riders had been driving to work alone in their cars.”
- “Rimsza seeks sales tax boost” By Chris Fiscus and Mary Jo Pitzl The Arizona Republic March 24, 1999, page B1. QUOTES: “Phoenix Mayor Skip Rimsza… joined by six of the city’s eight council members, …pledged to go back to the voters next spring for an unspecified tax increase for transit improvements and a bond election… The promise to pursue another transit election may be enough to win U.S. Senator Jon Kyl’s backing of federal funding for a Valley light-rail project…”
- “Backing up all the talk” Editorial, The Arizona Republic March 24, 1999, page B6. QUOTE: “Yesterday, Phoenix Mayor Skip Rimsza’s troubling indecisiveness came to and an abrupt and welcome end… there has been talk, but few specifics, about how to improve Phoenix’s woefully inadequate transit system. …Rimsza has outlined a strategy to schedule elections that would create a Sonoran Desert Preserve; …improve the city’s transit service, including a light rail system… the City Council can do Phoenix proud by backing the mayor and getting to work on scheduling the elections.”
- “Rimsza’s tax focus: Parks, transit, police” By Chris Fiscus and Mary Jo Pitzl The Arizona Republic March 24, 1999.
- “‘New Urbanism’ takes off” by Connie Cone Sexton, The Arizona Republic March 24, 1999, West Valley section. Second in a series on strong communities. QUOTE: “It’s Friday afternoon in the West Valley, and a light-rail train hums along Grand Avenue, giving a lift home to commuters. The train coasts to a stop and dozens of passengers hop off, some heading for cars in the adjacent lot, others strolling to an outdoor market featuring vegetables picked from a nearby field. This bustling scene is only a dream, but it’s one that’s not so impossible, urban planners say.”
- “Our future is riding on transit” by Roc Arnett, Tribune newspapers, 22 March 1999, page A13. Mr. Arnett, Maricopa County’s representative on the Arizona Transportation Board, writes that “…new pavement alone will not take our transportation system into the 21st century. We must begin now to lay the groundwork for a true ‘multimodal’ system that incorporates all of the tools from what I call the ‘mobility tool box.’ …[which] must include the entire range of transportation alternatives. Expanded mass transit, van pools and car pools, commuter rail and light rail, bike an pedestrian trails and park-and-ride lots must all be part of the mix…”
- “Kyl must help keep rail idea on track” The Arizona Republic, Editorial, 14 March 1999, page B6. QUOTE: “A light rail line envisioned for the Valley is heading toward a make-or-break juncture, and U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl needs to exert himself in Washington to make sure that the planning stays on track.”
- “Light rail on agenda of public meetings” The Arizona Republic, 13 March 1999. QUOTE: “A series of public meetings will be held next week on plans to build light rail in the Valley… Federal and local dollars have paid for the planning to date. Not an inch of rail could be built until local voters approve spending tax money for the construction phase.”
- SAN ANTONIO/AUSTIN — Cost of I-35 commuter rail fuels debate over its value San Antonio Express-News, 11 March 1999. QUOTE: “San Antonians could be hopping trains to Austin in less than a decade… it would cost about $475 million to start a commuter rail service connecting the two cities.”
- “Transit backers push tax vote: Lack of local funding blocks federal money” The Arizona Republic, 11 March 1999; by Mary Jo Pitzl and Jeff Barker. QUOTES: “Talk of putting a transit tax before Phoenix voters is back on track, speeded along by the fading prospects of winning federal dollars for a local light-rail project… The Valley Connections project calls for a 25-mile system running from downtown Mesa to west-central Phoenix, with the initial link connecting the Tempe and Phoenix downtowns.”
- “Amtrak resumes station work” The Arizona Republic, 11 March 1999, page B5. QUOTE: “Passengers could be climbing on and off Amtrak’s Sunset limited here [in Maricopa] by this fall. The delay-plagued project is moving forward again…”
- ACELAâ„¢ High Speed Trains
- “New Amtrak trains promise speedier commutes” Tucson Star-News, 10 March 1999.
- “The new Amtrak bullet train” CBS News, 10 March 1999.
- “Amtrak unveils new high-speed service for Northeast” CNN Interactive, 10 March 1999.
- “Residents make pitch for public transit” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 10 March 1999. QUOTE: “Community activists used a public hearing on a proposed $20 billion state highway plan Tuesday night to urge the state Department of Transportation to spend less money on highways and more on public transit. ‘This is not the Department of Highways. This is not DOH,’ Ald. Donald Richards said. ‘This is DOT — the Department of Transportation.’ Environmentalists, transit supporters and advocates for the homeless dominated the crowd of about 100 people at the hearing at the Zoofari Conference Center. They focused less on what was in the 21-year highway plan than on what wasn’t in it: plans for more buses and trains.”
- “Aggressive driving worst in places with few commuting options” CNN Interactive, 9 March 1999. Phoenix, third in the nation for aggressive driving, needs better public transportation, report says.
- Also “Aggressive driving rises with fewer commuting options, survey reports” Nando Times, 9 March 1999
- “Rail fastest, cheapest airport-city connector” Akron Beacon Journal, 9 March 1999. QUOTE: “In the last few years, Lufthansa German Airlines and Swissair in particular have been enthusiastic boosters of rail service to the major airports they serve. The two airlines have replaced or sharply limited the number of short-haul flights they offer to their hub airports, and instead cooperate with rail lines to sell joint air-rail tickets.”
- “Transit plan spurs downtown development” Puget Sound Business Journal, 8 March 1999. QUOTE: “On the road to livelier downtowns, several South End cities are hitching rides with Sound Transit… It’s no accident that the two activities — improving transportation service and revitalizing downtowns — are occurring simultaneously.”
- “Traffic tempts commuters to trains: Caltrain’s 8.6 million riders is highest since 1954″ San Jose Business Journal, 8 March 1999. QUOTE: “Highway 101′s traffic congestion on the Peninsula is spelling good times for Caltrain ridership.”
- “New Amtrak Northeast chief plans `more sensitive’ service” Philadelphia Inquirer, 8 March 1999. Stan Bagley will be the new CEO of Amtrak Northeast.
- UTAH — “Plenty of west-east light-rail questions still need answers” Salt Lake City Deseret News , 7 March 1999. QUOTE: “One station will be just outside Rice-Eccles Stadium, and university officials want to make sure light-rail construction won’t interfere with Utah football games during the next two seasons. Another station tentatively planned for the Huntsman Center might be moved around the corner onto Wasatch Drive. Light rail’s pending arrival means the university might not have to build a planned parking deck…”
- NORTHERN VIRGINIA — “PRTC to Add Rail Service And Parking Move Anticipates Effect Of ‘Mixing Bowl’ Project” Washington Post, 6 March 1999. QUOTE: “Virginia Railway Express… ridership is up 50 percent during the last 12 months.”
- ATLANTA — “U.S. lawmakers weighing in on MARTA direction” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 6 March 1999. With links to MARTA related news and information.
- SAN JOSE / SAN FRANCISCO — “Electrification fails vote; Line from S.J. to San Francisco to run later on weeknights. ” 5 March 1999, San Jose Mercury News. QUOTE: “A sweeping plan to electrify the Peninsula’s commuter rail line didn’t pass muster Thursday. But Caltrain riders may take solace in another action approved by the rail line’s parent agency: the addition of two more late-night trains between San Jose and San Francisco.”
- SACRAMENTO — “Can shortage of parking be good for city? Push mass transit, officials urged” Sacramento Bee, 4 March 1999. QUOTE: “Downtown Sacramento is developing a parking problem, and midtown architect Andrea Kincaid thinks that’s a good thing. Kincaid sees a lack of parking as one of the hallmarks of a great city — a Chicago, a New York, a San Francisco. She calls the looming shortage of up to 4,000 parking spaces ‘an opportunity we would be foolish to lose.’”
- SAN ANTONIO — “VIA sales tax proposal opens debate over rail” San Antonio Express-News , 3 March 1999. QUOTE: “Donze Lopez, [Chamber of Commerce] vice president for governmental affairs… said chamber volunteers already are clamoring to organize a fact-finding tour of Dallas’ new light-rail system, commuter rail line, historic trolley system and carpool lanes.”
- DENVER — “I-25 widening could take 5 or 12 years” Denver News, 2 March 1999. QUOTE: “Widening Interstate 25 will take five years or more than 12… The schedule calls for moving the first earth in 2001 and opening the expanded freeway and a parallel light-rail line in 2006… Tom Norton, executive director of the Department of Transportation… said ‘As a multimodal corridor, it only makes sense to build both (the wider interstate and light rail) at the same time.’”
- “Texas Think Tank Blasts Commuter Rail Systems” Reuters, 2 March 1999. QUOTE: “A San Antonio-based think tank released a scathing report Monday criticizing light rail and commuter rail systems in Texas and across the country.” Study says “It would be cheaper to lease every passenger a brand new BMW or Lexus in perpetuity than it is to operate the commuter rail systems in Los Angeles and San Diego” but neglects to say how much it would cost to add sufficient highway capacity for all those fancy new cars.
- “Letters to the Editor: Does valley’s public transit fall short … or is reporter overly critical?” San Jose / Silicon Valley Business Journal, 1 March 1999. Readers contribute their comments about whether San Jose’s public transportation system works well.
- “Question remains: Light rail or no light rail?” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 1 March 1999. QUOTE: “Initial reactions to the idea of a limited transit system linking downtown attractions are ranging from cautious optimism to outright enthusiasm among downtown business leaders, scholars and transit advocates.”
- “Talgo Signs Long-Term Maintenance Contract With Amtrak and Washington State Department of Transportation” Business Wire, 1 March 1999.
- “Southland-Sacramento Amtrak Train Begins” Los Angeles Times, 28 February 1999. QUOTE: “Last week, Amtrak began running one train per day on the route, leaving from Bakersfield at 5:45 p.m. and arriving in Sacramento at 11:15 p.m.; the southbound train leaves Sacramento at 6:20 a.m. Bakersfield-Sacramento.”
- “Talgo Trains Now Featured As Part of Amtrak Cascades Service Between Seattle, WA and Vancouver, BC” Excite Business Wire, 26 February 1999. QUOTE: “Talgo’s pendular technology trains are now featured as part of Amtrak West’s new Amtrak Cascades service between Seattle and Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada announced Talgo, Inc. CEO, J.P. Ruiz.”
- Editorial: “No regional transit is the real ill” The Arizona Republic, 25 February 1999, page B6. A spate of recent highway accidents highlights the Valley’s lack of a better regional public transportation system.
- “Amtrak’s ‘Talgo’ train chugs through debut run” The Daily Herald, Everett, Wash., 25 February 1999.
- “TRAX highballing toward yule finish” Salt Lake City Deseret News, 25 February 1999. QUOTE: “The Utah Transit Authority may choose to open its TRAX light-rail system in November 1999 instead of March 2000. UTA’s construction contractors are way ahead of schedule on the 15-mile line between 10000 South in Sandy and the Delta Center.”
- “Businesses to study light rail downtown: Limited system could link attractions for visitors ” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 24 February 1999. QUOTE: “Business leaders will begin a push today for a transit system — possibly light rail — that would let tourists, conventioneers and downtown workers ride between downtown attractions, Miller Park and the lakefront. At the urging of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce, the Wisconsin District Center Board is to vote today on whether to apply for several million dollars in federal money to study how public transit can serve the Midwest Express Center and other major attractions.”
- Railwatch Report
- “Railroad crossing safety faulted, defended” CNN Interactive, 23 February 1999. QUOTE: “…a study released Monday by RailWatch, a Texas-based coalition of 300 local officials from across the country, concludes that federal and state regulators fail to effectively oversee the rail system, and railroad companies do not take enough action to prevent accidents.”
- “Rail Safety Group’s Support Questioned” Washington Post 26 February 1999; Page A25. QUOTE: “Rockville Mayor Rose Krasnow and a number of other local officials across the country got a surprise this week. They discovered they were being touted as ‘supporters’ of RailWatch, a nonprofit organization that is demanding that Congress investigate the rail industry’s ‘alarming safety record.’”
- FRA Disputes Report Critical of Rail Safety CNN, 23 February 1999. QUOTE: “The Federal Railroad Administration on Tuesday defended its regulation of the nation’s railroads, saying a report critical of national rail safety contains numerous inaccuracies and distortions.”
- “Amtrak Station marks opening” San Antonio Express-News, 20 February 1999.
- “Valley train preview for VIPs: Direct service after 28 years” Sacramento Bee 20 February, 1999. Direct passenger service between Sacramento and the San Joaquin Valley returns.
- “Wyden seeks support to revive train service” The Oregonian, 19 February 1999. QUOTE: “The senator plans to press Amtrak to restore the Pioneer, which ran from Portland to Boise, Denver and Chicago.”
- “A rail authority would derail parochial plans” Commentary, by Robert A. Hart, Arizona Republic West Valley Community, 17 February 1999. QUOTES: “I continue to be concerned with the lack of a regional approach to solving the Valley’s, and indeed the entire state’s, transportation needs… What is sorely needed now is establishment of a state rail authority. We should be examining, in addition to Valley Connections, the use of present tracks of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe and Union Facofic lines.”
- “Time to Knock Heads and Board the Train” by James Flanigan, Los Angeles Times, 17 February 1999. QUOTE: “Commuters stuck in traffic may not believe it, but California, and especially Southern California, could become a center for the most advanced rail transportation systems in the world.”
- High Speed Ground Transportation Association Editorial on FOX Project, press release, 17 February 1999.
- “Train Is Commuters’ ACE in the Hole: Ridership Is Growing Steadily on San Joaquin to Silicon Valley Route” Los Angeles Times, 14 February 1999.
- “Transit task force formed: [Governor] Hull wants answers on roads, rail, funds” by Mary Jo Pitzl, The Arizona Republic, 11 February 1999, page B1. Group will look at planes, trains, and automobiles. First meeting will be 1pm, March 3 at the Capitol.
- “High-speed rail: Time to make a federal case out of it” by James E. Coston, The Chicago Tribune, 7 February 1999. QUOTES: “The problem is not that high-speed rail infrastructure is so expensive, but that U.S. legislators simply are not accustomed to fitting substantial volumes of passenger-train infrastructure into their transportation budgets. Were they to do so, the return on investment would be very appealing. An existing 79-mph freight/passenger railroad can be upgraded to handle 110-mph passenger trains for about $2 million per track mile, including advanced signaling systems… This may sound like big-ticket civil engineering, but it’s a pittance compared to what highways cost.”
- “All aboard Utah light rail” Salt Lake City Deseret News, 7 February 1999. QUOTE: “In a recent article regarding light rail, Lee Davidson quoted from researchers of The Reason Public Policy Institute, a Libertarian organization in Los Angeles, including Robert W. Poole, president of the foundation and director of its transportation research, and report author Peter Samuel. Some years ago, I used to be a light-rail opponent. Then I might have believed these arguments. I no longer accept distortions of the truth as fact.”
- “Fruit by rail: Local firm will piggyback on passenger trains” Detroit Free Press, 3 February 1999. QUOTE: “Bob Walker and Frank Unger are trying to resurrect a business the nation’s railroads lost to trucks many years ago. They have formed a Detroit-based rail company, ExpressTrak LLC, to ship food and other perishables across the nation in temperature-controlled train cars. But instead of using slow freight trains, the entrepreneurs will hook the cars to the rear of Amtrak passenger trains.”
- January 1999 ARPA UPDATE
- “New era dawning at Grand Canyon: Park plans to use $2.5-million donation for restoration of buildings, mass transit system” CNN Interactive, 29 January 1999.
- KANSAS CITY — “Amtrak pledges $2 million to return service to Union Station” The Kansas City Star 29 January 1999
- “Federal funds for Valley transportation projects” The Arizona Republic, 29 January 1999, page B2. QUOTE: “Rep. Ed Pastor came to town Thursday, and he was bearing gifts — three transportation grants that will pump millions of federal dollars into Valley projects… Phoenix will receive about $4 million for an environmental impact statement, preliminary engineering, and other costs to study a 22-mile light-rail project in Phoenix, Tempe, and Mesa. The preliminary engineering will focus on a 13-mile segment from Phoenix through Tempe.”
- “Big gift to park raises concerns” The Arizona Republic, 29 January 1999, page A1. QUOTES: “An Arizona foundation’s $2.5 million pledge kicked off an international drive to raise $350 million for a light-rail train, education campus, and new bike and walking paths at Grand Canyon National Park, but park advocates worry that the nation’s parks could become too commercialized.” “…the light-rail system should be operating between Tusayan and the planned Canyon View Information Plaza at Mather Point by 2002.”
- Amtrak pledges funds to high-speed network Chicago Sun Times, 29 January 1999. QUOTE: “Amtrak, the U.S. passenger intercity rail system, said Thursday it will spend $25 million… to spur development of a high-speed rail network in nine Midwestern states… Amtrak will provide $6 million to prepare Chicago’s Union Station, the Chicago-Detroit corridor, and other projects for high-speed rail service. “
- WISCONSIN — “Midwest High-Speed Rail Coming: Wisconsin’s Governor Announces Amtrak Will Spend $25M To Begin Rail Network In 9 Midwestern States” Channel 4000/AP, 28 January 1999. QUOTE: “Amtrak will spend $25 million to begin a rail network designed to link nine Midwestern states with high-speed passenger trains, Wisconsin’s governor announced Wednesday night.”
- “Amtrak Council Elects New Chairman” PR Newswire, 28 January 1999. Paul Weyrich, president of the Free Congress Foundation, was re-elected as chairman of the Amtrak Reform Council.
- “Death of Florida bullet train project highlights doubts about U.S. system” CNN Interactive, 27 January 1999. QUOTE: “Anne Chettle, spokeswoman for the Washington-based High Speed Ground Transportation Association, said Bush’s decision [to stop construction on the Florida FOX project] shows why if high-speed rail is to spread across the United States, it will have to be done in increments. Typically, that means straightening track curves, rebuilding existing stations and buying trains with higher top speeds — exactly what Amtrak is doing in the Northeast Corridor.”
- PORTLAND, OREGON — “Commuters overflow Gateway park and ride” The Oregonian, 27 January 1999. Tri-Met parking garages filled up almost from the first day of the light rail operation, and planners look to add spaces to accomodate the rising demand.
- LOUISIANA — “Casino traffic could bring Amtrak route” Sun Herald, 27 January 1999. QUOTE: “A steady stream of gamblers coming from Texas to Shreveport-Bossier City casinos could justify Amtrak taking its Fort Worth route as far east as Bossier City, officials say.”
- “U.S. approves Indiana fast-rail line” Chicago Sun Times, 26 January 1999. QUOTE: “Officials of the Indiana High Speed Rail Association learned in a telephone call from U.S. Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater that their proposed Gary-Lafayette-Indianapolis-Cincinnati route for 110-m.p.h. trains has been approved.”
- “Streamlining Altamont Express” San Jose Mercury News, 26 January 1999. The ACE commuter trains, are already “comfortably full,” and officials are polling riders and investigating ways to make the service even more convenient.
- “DaimlerChrysler to buy ABB’s 50% stake in Adtranz” Business Wire, 24 January 1999.
- SAN ANTONIO — “Portland’s successful urban development inspired San Antonio’s new master plan” San Antonio Express-News, 24 January 1999.
- “Amtrak Debuts Sleek Spain-Designed Cars” Los Angeles Times, 24 January 1999.
- “California’s High-Speed Rail Authority Picking Up Speed In Effort to Bring Cost-Effective Transportation Alternative to Voters” Business Wire, 22 January 1999.
- “Viad unit to serve meals on Amtrak” The Arizona Republic, 21 January 1999. Amtrak is out-sourcing its commisary facilities to Dobbs. Dobbs is a unit of the Phoenix-based Viad corporation.
- FLORIDA — “Many eyes turn toward funds freed from bullet train” Miami Herald, 15 January 1999. With cancellation of the FOX high speed project, improvements and expansions of Miami’s Metrorail and the Tri-Rail regional rail trains are possible.
- “Florida Abandons Rail Project” The Los Angeles Times, 15 January 1999.
- Florida says no to $6.3 billion bullet train Nando Times, 15 January 1999. QUOTE: “Gov. Jeb Bush pulled the plug Thursday on a $6.3 billion project to build a bullet train that would whisk passengers between Miami, Orlando and Tampa at nearly 200 mph. ‘We have to be good stewards of the taxpayers’ money,’ he said. “
- DALLAS — “Work starts on rail lines to suburbs: DART to serve Plano, Richardson, Garland” The Dallas Morning News, 15 January 1999.
- “Sleek space set for Amtrak station: Plan to refurbish depot adds streamlined shapes to its futuristic form” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 15 January 1999. QUOTE: “How to transform Milwaukee’s shabby, outdated Amtrak station into an attractive transportation gateway?”
- “Light-rail plan revived for Mesa-Glendale route” By Mary Jo Pitzl, The Arizona Republic 14 January 1999. QUOTE: “…plans are chugging along on a 35-mile light rail network that would connect Glendale and Metrocenter with downtown Mesa, passing through central Phoenix. The rail system would run mostly along existing roads, at street level. The first link could be operating by 2004…”
- “Caltrain to upgrade tracks, stations” San Jose Mercury News, 10 January 1999. QUOTE: “The Caltrain board has awarded a $41 million construction contract that will provide upgrades to train tracks, stations and crossings from San Jose to San Francisco.”
- “New trains’ width forces Amtrak to speed track work” Washington Post, 7 January, 1999; by Don Phillips. QUOTE: “Amtrak’s new 150-mph tilt trains, designed to bring a new level of speed and smoothness to the Washington-Boston corridor late this year, were built four inches too wide and will be unable to go around some curves as fast as planned, Amtrak and the Federal Railroad Administration officials confirmed Wednesday.”
- SACRAMENTO — “City, UP to meet on depot future: Apparent disagreement over Amtrak station” Sacramento Bee, 6 January 1999. QUOTE: “City, UP to meet on depot future: Apparent disagreement over Amtrak station”
- “Railroad shuts Tucson facility” The Arizona Republic, 2 January 1999, page B2. QUOTE: “Any product being shipped into or out of Tucson will have to go by truck or plane from now on — Union Pacific officials closed the city’s only railroad freight ramp Friday.”
Light rail Supporters gain momentum for Mesa-Phoenix link March 29th, 1999
by Mike Padgett, The Business Journal of Phoenix, 29 March 1999.
“A proposed light-rail system linking the downtowns of Phoenix, Tempe and Mesa has been thrust from the wings into the spotlight…
“Phoenix Councilwoman Peggy Bilsten, chairwoman of the city’s transportation committee, said other modes of transportation are the key to encouraging commuters to leave their cars at home… ‘I’m a supporter of light rail,’ Bilsten said. ‘I absolutely think it will work. I think light rail is very important to the success of this community. And at the rate this city is growing, we’ve got to move on it.’..
“Gov. Jane Hull’s Transportation Vision 21 Task Force is expected to review a March 1998 report from the Phoenix-Tucson High Speed Rail Task Force. It recommended a system of five daily trains with a two-hour travel time between the cities.”
Incremental High Speed Rail: The possible dream March 16th, 1999
by William C. Vantuono, Railway Age, March 1999, page 16.
QUOTES: “The demise of Florida Overland eXpress brings the high speed rail movement to a juncture, and it’s time we realize that our track record with 200-mph TGV-type systems clearly shows that further attempts at such massive undertakings are ill-advised, despite good intentions… It’s time to choose a firm direction and give priority to more-realistic alternatives… What we should be doing is more of those projects… like the Amtrak Cascades Talgo, which has attracted scores of new riders to intercity rail, and which would not have been possible without the commitment of BNSF to making incremental right-of-way improvements…”
ARPA’s Vision 2025 Statement March 2nd, 1999
A Multi-Modal Transportation Plan
for the Phoenix Metropolitan Area
2 March 1999
Governor Jane Hull has created a twenty-member committee, charged with developing a multi-modal transportation plan for the metropolitan Phoenix region for the year 2025. At the invitation of Joe Neblett of the Arizona Department of Transportation, ARPA is pleased to offer its vision with respect to the questions posed by the Committee.
- Land Use / Transportation Integration. Alternative land use goals can require adjustments to planned transportation systems, for example master planned communities, urban villages or zoning controls. What land use pattern would you like to see in 2025, and what type of transportation system do you feel is needed to support this pattern?
- Mixed-use developments, especially at arterial intersections and transit stations. For example, apartments above shops; or clusters of shops and offices among single-family houses. This eliminates the need for many short vehicular trips. This would be supported by neighborhood shuttles along collector streets; local and express buses and light rail along arterial streets; and commuter rail in major corridors.
- Modal Balance. Automobile travel is the dominant mode of travel within the region, with a small share of trips by transit, bicycling and walking. Some programs are seeking to reduce travel demand. Should the automobile continue to be the dominant mode of travel within the region?
- Automobile travel will be augmented by a wide variety of alternatives, including a greatly expanded public transport system with rail components. Spurred by planning and zoning changes which boost mixed-use development, walking, bicycling, and transit ridership will become far more prevalent.
- Project Needs. The region is growing rapidly, and major investments are needed to maintain mobility. Major investments are planned for freeways, streets, transit and airports. List your top transportation concerns. If you had to choose one transportation problem to focus on, what would it be? What major transportation projects do you feel need to be completed by 2025?
- Adding strong high capacity rail systems to augment the capacity of streets and highways. By 2025, our roads and highways will be completely filled, and will be at their maximum configuration. Public transportation will be a requirement for our continued mobility.
- New Technologies. New technologies are emerging to reduce transportation demands, costs and impacts. Intelligent transportation system technologies are enhancing traffic flow and the delivery of transit service. What impacts do you think new techn
- Between 1900 and 2000, technology has changed rail transportation far more dramatically than it has affected automobiles. The same will continue to be true in the upcoming years; we will see public transportation become increasingly more efficient, not just of fuel but also in its increased speed and convenience. As roads become increasingly congested, advanced public transportation systems will be ever more popular with the citizens of Arizona.
- Human Service Needs. What role should government play in 2025 to meet special transportation needs?
- Every citizen should have access to transportation. Where private enterprise cannot effectively provide access â€“ to schools, jobs, medical needs, or recreation â€“ that is where government must help ensure that transportation alternatives exist.
- Funding Options. User fees (such as fuel taxes) pay for a major share of road costs. General funds support transit, while sales taxes are used for transit and freeways. Tolling options have been considered. The regional sales tax for transportation ends in 2005 and fuel taxes are being gradually eroded by inflation and more efficient vehicles. How should transportation systems be paid for in 2025?
- Transportation should be funded by a variety of sources. Some sources are more appropriate for certain types than for others. Most important, however, will be a dedicated funding source in the State budget for all forms of transportation. As an example, the fuel tax should be changed to a percentage of the purchase price â€“ not a fixed tax per gallon â€“ to allow for the continuing effects of inflation.
- Quality of Life. What role does transportation have in quality of life issues and business growth in the area?
- Adequate transportation directly affects our economy, for without it, people cannot get to their jobs, nor can they shop; they can neither earn nor spend their money effectively. Without adequate transportation, our youth and elderly cannot be full citizens. Without adequate transportation, those who cannot drive, or do not wish to drive, are foreclosed from participating in our society. An intermodal transportation system, with sidewalks, roads, buses, and rail, is essential to a livable community.
- Other Modes. How do we make the Valley more bicycle and pedestrian friendly? What will our aviation needs be in 2025? What role should rail have in passenger and goods movement in 2025?
- By re-emphasizing sidewalks and public spaces over roads and parking spaces, and by planning and zoning which centers upon persons rather than automobiles, we can achieve not only better transportation but also a safer and happier society.
- Air travel will continue to be the principal means of moving people over long distances. Passenger rail will become prevalent for moving persons over medium distances, as for between most points within Arizona. Freight will move increasingly on rails as roads become permanently congested. Airports and train stations must be seen not as destinations, but as intermodal transfer points.