2000 News Wrapup December 31st, 2000
- “Traffic outlook grim: $66 billion proposed for highways, transit” Carol Sowers, The Arizona Republic, 30 December 2000. QUOTES: “You think gridlock is bad now? Fast-forward to 2019, when transportation gurus predict Valley motorists could spend 300,000 hours a year idling in rush-hour traffic, 10 times more than in 1995… The most ambitious of the task force’s four proposals for untangling traffic could cost as much as $66 billion over the next 20 years. The cost may be paid by raising gas and sales taxes. The three other proposals could cost taxpayers $19 billion to $64 billion. The $66 billion would pay for widening highways such as Interstate 10, building commuter rail, expanding bus and airline service and constructing a freeway that would circle the outskirts of the Valley.”
- HOUSTON — “Light rail ceremony in January” Houston Chronicle, 14 December 2000. QUOTE: “Metropolitan Transit Authority officials took another step Thursday toward construction of Metro’s planned 7.5-mile light rail line. They set a tentative date of Jan. 25 to officially break ground.”
- “Regulators raise Amtrak safety concerns Pending fine tied to solo engineers” The Arizona Republic, 12 December 2000. QUOTE: “The Arizona Corporation Commission is preparing to fine Amtrak for violating a state rule requiring railroads to operate trains with two employees in the lead engine’s cab.”
- “Commuter train added to E.V. light-rail picture: Fast route to downtown Phoenix may be option for Mesa, Chandler.” East Valley Tribune, 11 December 2000, Page A1. QUOTE: “Light-rail construction has yet to begin, but transportation officials area already talking about the need to build a complementary commuter train system to serve the East Valley’s rapidly growing population… officials in Chandler and Mesa say that [light rail system] may not be enough.”
- “Chandler mayor wants light rail” The Arizona Republic, 30 November 2000, East Valley p. 5. QUOTE: “With Tempe and Phoenix planning light-rail systems, Chandler and Mesa should follow suit, according to Chandler Mayor Jay Tibshraeny.”
- HOUSTON — “Metro gets approval for rail line on streets” Houston Chronicle, 22 November 2000. QUOTE: “Houston City Council voted 11-4 Tuesday to allow the Metropolitan Transit Authority to use city streets for a planned light-rail line from the University of Houston-Downtown to Reliant Park. The action clears a major hurdle for Metro. After the vote, board chairman Robert Miller said the transit agency will seek bids on the rail cars and electric power system in the first week of December and start construction in late February or early March.”
- BOULDER, COLORADO — “Interim commuter train unlikely” The Daily Camera, 20 November 2000. QUOTE: “Jump-starting temporary commuter train service along U.S. 36 during coming highway reconstruction appears unfeasible to transportation experts because the project would cost more than previously thought and take longer. The Regional Transportation District and its consultants for U.S. 36 projects recently informed Boulder officials that starting “bare bones” passenger rail service on the Burlington Northern-Santa Fe railroad tracks parallel to the highway would cost between $80 million and $100 million.”
- “Tracks in the Outback” The Arizona Republic, 19 November 2000. Verde Canyon Railroad is ticket to wilderness experience.
- TEXAS — “Cock an ear toward Fort Bend County” Houston Chronicle, 19 November 2000. Editorial opinion: Commuter rail on existing tracks would work for the whole Houston area.
- “Denver-Spokane rail line backed” Denver Post, 18 November 2000. QUOTE: “The idea of establishing passenger train service between Denver and Spokane, Wash., received enthusiastic support Friday, on the eve of a meeting of proponents and others in Billings, Mont.”
- “Reform Council discusses indicates approval for growth strategy” Concord (NH) Monitor, 17 November 2000. QUOTES: “Americans would benefit from a national transportation system that tied together various modes of travel, according to the chief executive of the only national bus line in the United States… The council met Thursday to discuss a staff ‘working paper’ on Amtrak and the Northeast Corridor… The council ultimately agreed to allow for the document to be further amended to include responses from council members and Amtrak on topics including long-term funding and the financing of infrastructure improvements for the Northeast Corridor and the rest of the national system.”
- “Sound Transit, Tacoma Rail reach agreement on track ” Seattle Times, 17 November 2000. QUOTE: “A stalemate between Sound Transit and Tacoma’s municipal railroad that limited commuter-rail service to two trains a day has ended. But additional trains between Tacoma and Seattle won’t start until Tacoma’s track is upgraded and its station completed next year.”
- “Tempe may pick light-rail route by Sun Devil Stadium” The Arizona Republic, 16 November 2000. QUOTE: “Tempe council members are set to pick a downtown route tonight for the city’s future light-rail system. The Creamery Branch alignment, which runs past Sun Devil Stadium, would save the city at least $10 million in construction costs over the University Drive alternative, city Transit Manager Mary O’Connor said.”
- TEXAS — “Rail service in works for Cotton Belt route; Commuter line would cut across NE Tarrant [County]” Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 9 November 2000. QUOTE: “With the Trinity Railway Express commuter train up and running on the Rock Island line, regional transportation officials are looking at adding commuter rail service on the Cotton Belt line from the Fort Worth Stockyards through Northeast Tarrant County to Addison.”
- CALIFORNIA — “Big Wins For Two Transit Measures Taxes OKd in Alameda, Santa Clara counties” San Francisco Chronicle, 9 November 2000. QUOTES: “Frustrated commuters from the East Bay to Silicon Valley showed that they were willing to pay to ease their pain by overwhelmingly approving $7.4 billion in two tax measures on Tuesday… Rick Silver, executive director of the Train Riders Association of California… is pushing to ask the group’s 7,000 members if they want to drop opposition to BART around the bay, long anathema to rail advocates who hold that expanding and modernizing Caltrain-like commuter rail service is far more cost-effective…”
- UTAH — “Voter Support Of Transit Tax Could Mean Clout in D.C.” Salt Lake Tribune, 9 November 2000. QUOTE: “Wasatch Front voters’ strong support for a transit-tax increase gives Utah’s congressional delegation new leverage to grab federal dollars to extend TRAX and build commuter rail.”
- UTAH — “Voters Pass Transit Tax” Salt Lake Tribune, 8 November 2000. A 0.25% tax will fund “Utah Transit Authority trains from Ogden to Salt Lake City; electric-powered light rail to West Valley City, West Jordan, Draper and Salt Lake City International Airport; increased bus frequency; and transit service on Sundays and holidays.”
- PHOENIX — “Neighborhood rejoices over light-rail plan” by Elvia DÃaz The Arizona Republic, 3 November 2000. The City Council has approved the 19th Avenue alignment for the light rail near Chris-Town Mall.
- TEXAS — Council to study second rail link; Arlington and Grand Prairie hope for service to connect their cities to the Metroplex. Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 1 November 2000. QUOTE: “A second passenger rail service could link Arlington and Grand Prairie to other major Metroplex cities if a study of the Union Pacific corridor between Interstates 20 and 30 indicates it would be feasible, officials said. The North Central Texas Council of Governments will soon begin examining the possibility of having an east-west commuter or light rail service stretching from Dallas to Fort Worth…”
- TUCSON — “Depot’s hidden treasures” Arizona Daily Star, 30 October 2000. QUOTE: “Above the false ceilings and behind the hideous wood paneling and fuzzy wallpaper at the former Southern Pacific Railroad depot lies an architectural gem waiting to be restored… The $26 million, 12-year remodeling project began when the city bought the property about two years ago. It has been described as the cornerstone of downtown’s revival. The station is conveniently located across from Hotel Congress on Toole Avenue, and city transportation officials hope a downtown trolley will stop there to let passengers enjoy a complex of shops and restaurants.” (More on the Tucson depot)
- October 30: The Arizona & California Railroad received heavy damage in last week’s Centennial Wash flood. Over one mile of trackage in Wenden was damaged, as was a bridge at “Divide”-MP 8.5 (west of Wickenburg). Two work trains are out on the line today and the railroad is also due to recieve some federal disaster relief money for repairs. All A&C Phoenix-bound traffic is being rerouted over BNSF & UP.
- PHOENIX — “Light-rail path a Phoenix quandary” by Elvia DÃaz The Arizona Republic, 28 October 2000. The owners of Chris-Town Mall are threatening to call off plans to build a 700-space parking lot and a train station at the shopping center if the light-rail line is built along 19th instead of 15th Avenue.
- GRAND CANYON – “Canyon’s light-rail cost raises official’s concern” The Arizona Republic 27 October 2000. QUOTE: “The newly appointed superintendent of Grand Canyon National Park expressed concern Thursday about the cost of a proposed $160 million light-rail project that could transport up to 4,200 tourists an hour into the park during peak summer months. The rail line has been endorsed by park planners and environmental groups as a means to minimize noise pollution near the Canyon rim, primarily from private vehicles. The line would begin outside the park near the community of Tusayan and end six miles later at the new transportation and visitors center near Mather Point on the South Rim.”
- GRAND CANYON — “Making a quieter Canyon” The Arizona Republic 26 October 2000. QUOTE: “[The] Grand Canyon National Park’s new visitors center and transportation hub near Mather Point” will open today. This “is the beginning of the National Park Service’s most elaborate effort to bring back natural quiet to its crown-jewel park through a three-pronged approach of light-rail trains, alternative-fuel shuttle buses and rim trails for hiking and biking.”
- LOS ANGELES — According to a 26 October press release, “One of the fastest-growing commuter rail systems in the nation, Metrolink turns eight years old today. The system opened on Oct. 26, 1992, with 3 rail routes, 11 stations, 112 miles of track in two counties and initially carried 2,300 daily passengers. Today, Metrolink offers six rail routes, 47 stations, 416 miles of track in six counties and carries almost 32,000 average daily passengers, demonstrating an impressive pace of growth.”Thanks to legions of former drive alone commuters, passenger ridership on Metrolink has continued to climb and reached a new high of 31,989 average daily riders in April of this year. Metrolink’s growth is expected to continue over the next decade. Daily ridership is expected to jump to 50,000 in 2010 with increased service levels from the current 126 weekday trips to 169 trips.”
- HOUSTON, TEXAS — “Metro board gives Main Street rail project green light” Houston Chronicle, 26 October 2000. QUOTE: “The Metropolitan Transit Authority board voted unanimously Thursday to build a $300 million 7.5-mile light rail line from Downtown to the Astrodome using only local funds if federal dollars remain unavailable.”
- PHOENIX – “[Light] Rail route urged near downtown” The Arizona Republic 25 October 2000. QUOTE: “Phoenix’s planned light-rail train will run near the city’s major downtown sports venues, courts, office buildings and Sky Harbor International Airport, if city planners have their way. Transit planners are suggesting the trains follow all one-way streets in downtown and east Phoenix: heading south on First Avenue from Roosevelt Street, east on Jefferson Street to Tempe, west on Washington Street, and north on Central Avenue to Roosevelt. Planners will urge a City Council subcommittee to adopt those routes today, saying they would attract more commuters than others studied.”
- SCOTTSDALE: Free rides draw few takers: Seats empty on airpark shuttle buses Chip Scutari The Arizona Republic 25 October 2000. QUOTES: “…the two bus routes… are supposed to give the 22,000 airpark employees the ability to move throughout the business park without having to jump in their cars. The routes started running in mid-August… Despite the lack of riders, city transit officials are optimistic that things will change over time. Debbie Astin, a city transit planner, said Scottsdale will take a look at how daily ridership grows or declines over its first year.”
- “Lindner awaits Amtrak payday Value of railroad stock in dispute” Cincinnati Enquirer, 25 October 2000. QUOTE: “A fight is brewing between the government-owned passenger railroad system Amtrak and the main owner of its common stock, Cincinnati’s Carl Lindner Jr. Amtrak officials tendered an offer of 3 cents for each of Amtrak’s 9.4 million common shares Oct. 12. That would mean about $157,000 for Mr. Lindner’s American Financial Group Inc., which owns 5.24 million of those shares. American Financial’s shares are a leftover from its 1980s acquisition of Penn Central Corp. The shares do not hold any control over Amtrak’s operations, and they have no market value now because the federal government owns Amtrak’s preferred stock and controls its operations. But Mr. Lindner could ask for millions of dollars for the common shares, setting up negotiations that could last years.”
- 19 October “Amtrak’s High-Speed Trains Are Coming, But Are They Fast Enough?” FOX News. QUOTE: “Amtrak unveiled its new high-speed train Wednesday, saying passengers can expect a faster trip between Boston and Washington, D.C., beginning in mid-December. But critics argue the revved-up rails are still too slow to compete with air shuttle service. They say the trip’s length, along with increased fares, will leave riders saying they ain’t got time to take a fast train.”
- “KINGMAN: Railroad is hoping to restore depot.”Arizona Republic, 15 October 2000, page B4. BNSF hopes “to restore and reopen a historic railroad depot… the company faces a problem finding the money to restore it.”
- COLORADO — “LoDo-to-DIA train back on track” Denver Post, 12 October 2000. Denver is fast-tracking its regional rail from downtown to the new airport. This will use the existing Union Pacific railroad line and connect with the light rail and with Amtrak at Union Station.
- “Going nowhere fast: Delays plague Amtrak at a time the railroad needs more riders” Pittsburg Post-Gazette, 8 October 2000. QUOTE: “The debate over Amtrak’s future is likely to intensify as the December 2002 deadline approaches. Echoing a recent General Accounting Office report, U.S. Rep. Bud Shuster, the chairman of the House Transportation Committee, said he is not optimistic about Amtrak’s future: ‘I don’t see how they will do it.’”
- “State sales tax boost proposed: Half-cent hike would ease transit need” By Mary Jo Pitzl The Arizona Republic 7 October, 2000 QUOTE: “Phoenix Mayor Skip Rimsza looks down the transportation road and sees a financial dead end. “So he’s proposing a half-cent increase in the state sales tax for 20 years to fund road and transit projects tailor-made to different communities’ needs…”
- “Panel under gun to pick rail routes Transit panel under gun to pick Tempe-Phoenix electric-rail alignment” by Mary Jo Pitzl The Arizona Republic, 4 October 2000. QUOTE: “Within the next two weeks, the newly formed Citizens Transit Commission faces crucial and controversial decisions on where to put Phoenix’s electric train.”
- “Railroad oversight – Arizona motorists who routinely drive over railroad crossings are in potential danger – all because the state can’t properly pay an inspector.” Arizona Daily Star, 3 October 2000. QUOTE: “It is inconceivable that the state has been without a railroad crossing inspector since 1997, when the inspector left a $32,000 per-year job for a similar, but much-higher-paying position with the federal government.”
- WISCONSIN — “Panel backs 2 rail projects in Wisconsin” Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, 3 October 2000. QUOTES: “A congressional conference committee has recommended spending $5.5 million for two Wisconsin passenger rail projects… $4 million to continue planning an extension of Chicago’s Metra commuter rail service from Kenosha to Racine and Milwaukee… [and] $1.5 million for setting up high-speed Amtrak service from Milwaukee to Madison, including $500,000 to improve safety at railroad crossings along the route.”
- CALIFORNIA — “Transit Village as Wave of Future MTA’s proposed rail station developments hope to boost areas and metro ridership.” Los Angeles Times, 3 October 2000. QUOTE: “Developer Michael Dieden is creating a village at the Blue Line station in South Pasadena, even though the first train won’t pull in for three more years.”
- UTAH — “LDS Church Hires Light Rail For Use on Conference Sunday ” Salt Lake Tribune, 3 October 2000.
- TEXAS — ” NE Tarrant passengers begin paying rail fares; 4,500 riders board Trinity Railway Express” Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 3 October 2000. QUOTE: “Even without downtown Fort Worth stations, which are scheduled to debut October 2001, ridership has exceeded forecasts. For example, transportation officials had targeted 2010 as the year when the commuter train would board 11,000 passengers in a day. But Saturday, a decade ahead of schedule, 10,858 riders boarded at stations between the CentrePort- DFW Airport Station and Union Station in downtown Dallas.”
- “Amtrak’s rail plans in county are delayed” Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, 1 October 2000. QUOTE: “Amtrak officials say they need more time before inaugurating new daily passenger service that some local officials hope could include one or more stops in Waukesha County. Without setting another timetable for launching the Milwaukee-Fond du Lac service, officials said they are still negotiating with various parties in an attempt to clear the way for a start-up.”
- UTAH — ” Support is building for light-rail tax But narrow 53% tally shows UTA faces a bumpy road” Salt Lake City Deseret News, 1 October 2000. QUOTE: “Eight years after voters rejected a tax hike to pay for a light-rail mass transit system, the trains are up and running in Salt Lake County. But will that make residents along the Wasatch Front any more receptive to a sales tax increase for transit improvements?”
- “A Plan To Reorganize Amtrak” from the United Rail Passenger Alliance; by Andrew C. Selden.
QUOTE: “On the assumption that Congress wished to end its subsidization of NRPC by FY 2002 rather than merely relabel it, this report proposes a reorganization of NRPC that will largely achieve the Congressional goal of ending federal subsidization of intercity rail passenger operations in most markets. A specific plan is proposed as well as a transitional strategy to achieve it. The theoretical foundation for a genuinely successful rail intercity service is outlined, and examples — including a specific precedent and model for the plan proposed — are given.
“The basic concept of this plan is to reorganize the NRPC by dividing it into a half dozen of its major component parts, and to spin off those major elements into autonomous, competitive entities (leaving the Northeast Corridor in the hands of the current NRPC entity and management), on the model of the highly successful 1984 breakup of AT&T Corp. Significant, self-financed growth is forecast for the spun-off entities, especially the component providing a national system of long distance interregional services.”
- TEXAS — “The Eagle on Waco’s horizons? Amtrak service possible through city” Waco Tribune-Herald, 30 September 2000.
- NEVADA — “Reno council delays trench bond sale” Reno Gazette-Journal, 27 September 2000. QUOTE: “The Reno City Council agreed Tuesday to delay any sale of bonds for the downtown railroad trench project until a final Environmental Impact Study is finished, likely in December.”
- PHOENIX — “Schools, parents voice concerns about light rail’s effects” The Arizona Republic 10 September 2000, page A1. QUOTE: “The prospect of a Valley light-rail system with electric trains zooming by schools has some parents and educators concerned about safety, noise and traffic. Last spring, voters approved [light rail] to connect Phoenix with Tempe and Mesa. Construction will begin in 2003, with the first segment up and running in 2006.”
- DENVER — “White elephant or precious gem? Union Station viewed as hub of future transport network” Denver Rocky Mountain News 10 September 2000
- TEXAS — “Tarrant set to ride into `new era’ on Trinity Railway Express” Fort Worth Star-Telegram 6 September 2000. Dallas – Fort Worth commuter rail system set to start this month. (see also TRE schedules)
- “Phoenix balks at free buses in ozone alerts” Bob Petrie, Arizona Republic, 23 August 2000, page B2. QUOTE: “…how’s this idea to encourage people to drive less…? Offer free bus rides on ozone alert days. …Yet when I pitched the idea to to save the Valley from the clutches of the Brown Cloud to Neil Manske… In short, he didn’t like it…”
- COLORADO — “Riders flock to light rail” Denver Rocky Mountain News 21 August 2000. QUOTE: “According to a Regional Transportation District count of people who used the southwest line on July 19, there were 11,264 riders. The average number of people who rode RTD’s express bus routes on weekdays along the same route before the July 14 opening of light rail was 1,870… critics remain unconvinced. They say RTD underestimated ridership so the agency would look good once the line got under way. And they insist that the only meaningful comparison is whether light rail cuts traffic on Sante Fe and that hasn’t been demonstrated.”
- “Phoenix rolls out Sunday bus service” The Arizona Republic, 21 August 2000
- “Many thankful to have new Sunday bus service” The Arizona Republic, 21 August 2000
- “All aboard for intercity rail: Party platforms recognize value of high-speed passenger rail in economic development, enhanced mobility” Oregon Live editorial, 18 August 2000. QUOTE: “Both Republican and Democratic parties finally are on the same track in regard to supporting intercity passenger rail – acknowledgment that Amtrak, which is setting records for revenue and ridership, is turning the corner in both popular and political support.”
- COLORADO — “Union Station agrees to light rail RTD negotiates to extend its Central Platte Valley line” Denver Rocky Mountain News 17 August 2000. QUOTE: “In a ‘major breakthrough’ for the future of Denver-area transportation, RTD will be allowed to extend its Central Platte Valley light-rail line to Union Station, RTD General Manager Cal Marsella said Wednesday.”
- TEXAS — “Trinity Express on track for debut in NE Tarrant ” Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 16 August 2000. North Texas commuter rail extends from Dallas nearly to downtown Fort Worth.
- “Expanded service first payoff from transit tax hike” The Arizona Republic, 13 August 2000
- PHOENIX — “Basic clues help unravel mystery of riding the bus ” The Arizona Republic, 13 August 2000
- TEXAS — “Texas voters pass rapid transit bond issue for Dallas” Reuters, 13 August 2000. QUOTE: “Passage of the bond issue will allow the transit system to expand its light rail to 94 mles by 2013. At this point, riders can use 20 miles and 24 more miles are under construction.”
- “Canyon’s rail plans criticized” by Mary Jo Pitzl, 27 July 2000, Arizona Republic. QUOTE: “The National Park Service in September will request bids for a light-rail system to relieve traffic congestion at the Canyon. But Dennis Foster, a business professor at Northern Arizona University, says the best answer is simply to build more parking spaces.”
- COLORADO — “Riders like light-rail’s latest link: Southwest train line 30% over estimates” by Tillie Fong, Denver Rocky Mountain News 25 July 2000.
- “Council hopes to put Amtrak — long the little train service that couldn’t — back on track” Providence Journal, 23 July 2000. QUOTES: “By law, the Amtrak Reform Council has the power to do more than reform Amtrak — it could help kill it by developing a plan to restructure the nation’s inter-city rail passenger system… Now, however, despite its complaints about Amtrak’s accounting, the council appears inclined to help Amtrak succeed.”
- “Sky Harbor set up for light rail station” Opinion by Terry Goddard, 20 July 2000, Arizona Republic. QUOTE: “There’s a treasure hidden under Sky Harbor International Airport. It’s buried under Terminal 4… Back in 1989, when Phoenix built Terminal 4, it was clear that this huge building would become the transportation center for the Valley. Anticipating that voters would someday approve a light rail system, Phoenix built the rough framework for a transit station under the baggage handlers in the basement of Terminal 4.”
- TEXAS — “Amtrak’s Texas Eagle carrying record numbers of passengers” Longview News-Journal, 19 July 2000. QUOTE: “Amtrak’s Texas Eagle continues to board passengers at a record setting pace. For June, passenger activity was up 72 percent from over a year ago while revenues for the Chicago-to-San Antonio line jumped 44 percent from June 1999… in the first nine months of Amtrak’s fiscal year, from October through the end of June, the Texas Eagle has carried 100,700 passengers. That is a 24.5 percent jump from the prior year and 21 percent above Amtrak’s own business plan, or budget projections for the period…”
- APTA: Public Transportation Ridership Continues to Soar PR Newswire, 17 July 2000. Public transit ridership for 1Q2000 is up 4.8% over 1999, and (QUOTE): “The continuing increase in ridership builds on last year’s year-end total of more than 9 billion trips, the highest peak in annual ridership since 1960. Total ridership in 1999 was 4.5 percent higher than in the previous year.”
- “Transit expansion favored” by Neal Peirce, Washington Post Writers’ Group, in the Arizona Republic 16 July 2000, page B9.
- “Amtrak critic wants Thompson off train board” Minneapolis-St. Paul Star-Tribune, 13 July 2000. QUOTE: “An Amtrak critic says President Clinton should fire Governor Tommy Thompson from his post as Amtrak board chair partly for playing ‘pork-barrel politics’ with new trains to Fond du Lac and Janesville.”
- PENNA. — “Alle-Kiski commuter rail plan chugs along” 13 July 2000, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette QUOTE: “A feasibility study of passenger railroad service in the Allegheny Valley predicts up to 1,200 people a day — accounting for 2,400 trips — would opt for commuter trains for rush-hour trips rather than drive congested Routes 28, 56 and 130, Allegheny River Boulevard and Butler Street.”
- COLORADO — “Rail-corridor boom seen: Signs already exist along new southwest line that business is placing its bets” Denver Rocky Mountain News, 13 July 2000 QUOTE: “Signs of an economic heyday already are evident along the 8.7-mile line, where 14 light-rail vehicles are expected to carry up to 8,400 passengers a day. Development lured by the transit line is expected to bring an influx of new businesses and residents to the corridor.”
- ” Everyone ready to ride: Light rail is the hot ticket in greater metro area” Denver Rocky Mountain News, 13 July 2000. QUOTE: “The first train of commuters hasn’t yet rolled on the southwest light-rail line, and the first rail is not yet laid on the southeast line, but already cities and counties are clamoring to be next.”
- PORTLAND, ORE. — “Airport’s MAX station will be special” 10 July 2000, The Oregonian QUOTE: It’s still in crude shape, but one of Portland’s most elaborate light-rail stations is taking shape — at the airport… The station, funded with airline ticket fees, will be just east of two new Alaska Airlines/Horizon Airlines luggage carousels, and will include an 80-seat waiting room indoors and a large plaza outdoors.”
- ARKANSAS — Downtown residents trying to expand LR’s trolley plan Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 13 July 2000. QUOTE: “After a 50-year absence from city streets, electric trolley cars would again crisscross central Little Rock if the Downtown Neighborhood Association has its way.”
- Best Fares, 12 July 2000 QUOTE: “Is Kenneth Starr available? A rail veteran and critic of Amtrak has called on Congressional leaders to replace the national passenger railroad’s board and to launch a sweeping investigation into the railroad’s financial affairs.”
- “Northridge Metrolink Station Marks Permanent Opening” 11 July 2000, Los Angeles Times QUOTE: “Transportation officials formally opened the Northridge Metrolink station on Monday as a permanent stop on the commuter line between Los Angeles and Ventura. The Northridge station, at Wilbur Avenue and Parthenia Street, opened as a temporary station on Feb. 14, 1994, as an alternative for commuters unable to drive area freeways damaged in the Jan. 17, 1994, earthquake. It now becomes one of 47 stations in the 417-mile commuter rail system.”
- 10 July: Joseph Vranich resigns from Amtrak Reform Council
- “Rail Passenger Advocate Calls for Removal of Amtrak Board; Resigns from Amtrak Reform Council Saying Congressional Probe of Amtrak Needed” 10 July 2000, PR Newswire. QUOTE: “A passenger-train author and critic of Amtrak has called on Congressional leaders to replace the national passenger railroad’s board and to launch a sweeping investigation into the railroad’s financial affairs.”
- Amtrak unveils passenger guarantee MSNBCm 6 July 2000 QUOTE: “Amtrak unveiled a new look and an unconditional service guarantee Thursday as part of its effort to revitalize passenger rail as an alternative to crowded skies and crowded highways. The national passenger rail service is casting off its red, white and blue colors and the 29-year-old pointless arrow symbol in favor of ‘Amtrak Blue’ and a new logo that suggests movement over the rails.”
- Should your taxes pay for more US trains? National Geographic, July 2000. QUOTE: “In the U.S., Congress is withdrawing tax support for Amtrak operations by 2003, while still subsidizing highways to the tune of some $41 billion (according to official statistics, last compiled for 1998) in addition to $69 billion in tolls and gasoline taxes (which, like your train fare, serve as a user fee). Thus the government is underwriting over a third of highway costsâ€”not to mention expansions for crowded airportsâ€”while planning nothing long-term for trains.”
- “Amtrak seeks redress for setbacks on fast train” Reuters news in Boston Globe, 28 June 2000. QUOTE: “Amtrak says it is seeking compensation from the developers of a high-speed train whose debut has been delayed by mechanical problems. Governor Tommy Thompson of Wisconsin, the Amtrak chairman, said the Acela train, which was scheduled to begin service last year, still has serious problems, including excessive wear in the wheels and a turning component that is below contract specifications. ‘Now it looks like it will be September before we get delivery of the first train set,’ said Thompson, addressing a National Corridors Initiative conference on passenger-rail development. ‘We are very upset about that.’”
- “Amtrak Halts Tests of New Fast Trains” by Don Phillips Washington Post 20 June 2000; Page A14. QUOTE: “Amtrak halted test runs of its new high-speed trains over the weekend when cracked or missing bolts were found in several wheel sets, a finding that will delay the start of regular service between Washington and Boston at least until mid-August, officials said yesterday.”
- “Amtrak suspends testing of high speed trains” Boston Globe 20 June 2000. QUOTE: “Amtrak’s plan for high-speed trains between Boston and Washington is expected to be delayed until at least August after safety inspectors discovered bolts had broken off the undercarriages of at least two locomotives.”
- “Tempe light rail OK’d by council: Move to put issue on ballot rejected” by Elvia Diaz, The Arizona Republic 16 June 2000. QUOTE: “Facing a late evening deadline to reverse an earlier decision and put the issue on the September ballot, the council instead held firm to a decision to use revenue from a sales tax increase approved in 1996 to build a 5.8-mile light-rail transit system that will cost an estimated $43 million per mile. Federal funds would pay for half.”
- DENVER — “RTD gives preview of Santa Fe light rail 8.7 mile extension will open officially July 14″ Denver Rocky Mountain News, 16 June 2000.
- DENVER — “RTD, Rockies spar over site of light-rail spur” Denver Rocky Mountain News, 16 June 2000. QUOTE: “The line was envisioned to run from West Colfax Avenue at the Auraria campus to Union Station. RTD decided to bypass Union Station after its owners backed away from contributing nearly $1 million in cash and right of way to the project as initially promised. RTD selected Wewatta and Chestnut as an interim site for the end of the line until a deal to purchase Union Station for a future transportation hub could be worked out, Claflin said.”
- SEATTLE — “Transit tax appears headed for vote” Seattle Post-Intelligencer 16 June 2000.
- WISCONSIN — “Kenosha rolls out recycled streetcar line” Chicago Sun-Times 15June 2000. QUOTE: “The first streetcar line in the region in nearly half a century will debut this weekend in Kenosha, Wis., and begin regular service Monday. The [1.7-mile] circular system, which features 49-year-old electric streetcars previously used in Toronto, will carry residents, commuters and tourists in a tight circle around the Lake Michigan town of 90,000 for 25 cents a trip.”
- British Passenger Train Company reports record profits This Is London, 14 June 2000. South West Trains, heavily criticised for its appalling service to commuters, today announced record operating profits of more than Â£39 million
- “Trains running, but derailment damage rises” Casa Grande Dispatch 14 June 2000. QUOTE: “Operations were returning to normal today on Union Pacific Railroadâ€™s main line through Casa Grande after a derailment early Monday, but the damage estimate has been raised to $2 million.”
- OKLAHOMA – “Rail service’s income soars past forecast” The Oklahoman, 14 June 2000. Amtrak’s Heartland Flyer, originally expected to carry 20,000 persons annually, saw 68,400 riders in its first year of operation.
- British Passenger Train Company reports record profits This Is London, 14 June 2000. South West Trains, heavily criticised for its appalling service to commuters, today announced record operating profits of more than Â£39 million
- UTAH — “Cities Want Mass Transit Tax on November Ballot” Salt Lake Tribune 14 June 2000. QUOTE: “Nearly half the city councils in Davis and Weber counties have endorsed resolutions calling for a November vote on a plan to raise taxes to pay for commuter rail and more Utah Transit Authority buses.”
- COLORADO — “Commuter rail favored in phone survey” Rocky Mountain News, 14 June 2000. QUOTE: “Boulder County residents want a commuter rail, carpool lanes and more buses along U.S. 36, according to a recent telephone survey. Moreover, they are willing to tax themselves 25 cents per $100 purchase to do it.”
- “Freight train derailment disrupts passenger travel” Tucson Daily Star, 13 June 2000. QUOTE: “CASA GRANDE – Dozens of freight cars derailed early yesterday on Union Pacific tracks, closing the line through Southern Arizona for at least a day and disrupting Amtrak service.” Note: The Sunset Limited is tri-weekly and the Texas Eagle is 4 times a week, not daily as implied by the article.
- CALIFORNIA — “Metrolink Unveils Service for San Bernardino, 4% Rate Hike” Los Angeles Times 13 June 2000. Metrolink’s 2000 budget includes a 4% fare increase but also “Sunday service from San Bernardino to Los Angeles… [a] second rush hour train on the San Bernardino line… [and] two additional Saturday round trips on the Riverside line and four Sunday round trips on the San Bernardino line to Los Angeles.”
- WISCONSIN — “Amtrak to serve Lake Geneva” Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel 12 June 2000. QUOTE: “Starting Thursday, Amtrak service between Chicago and Janesville will include a stop near the popular Lake Geneva resort area, Gov. Tommy G. Thompson announced Monday.”
- PORTLAND — “Workers are busy making tracks toward Airport MAX 2001 deadline” The Oregonian, 12 June 2000. QUOTE: “With rails at times advancing at a slow walking pace, Airport MAX is becoming a railroad. With crews placing 3,200 feet of single rail per day, the line is growing by the equivalent of eight downtown blocks every 24 hours.”
- DENVER — “U.S. 36 survey questioned” Denver Post, 11 June 2000. A report showing wide support for commuter rail and light rail as alternatives to growing roadway congestion has been called into question.
- UTAH — “Old Rail Terminal May BeNew S.L. Transit Center” Salt Lake City Tribune, 11 June 2000. The D&RGW station may yet be home to light rail and a commuter train system.
- NEW ENGLAND — “Rail project could promote smart growth_along Seacoast” Boston Globe 11 June 2000.
- “Enthusiasm Limited for High-Speed Rail” Los Angeles Times, 10 June 2000. California’s High Speed Rail Authority is still working on plans for a North-South corridor in that state.
- “Wisconsin official criticizes proposed Amtrak schedule to Fond du Lac” TRAINS magazine newswire. New train has no station, passengers must board at industrial spur – proof it’s freight, not passengers, the train’s designed for?
- MIAMI – “Feds OK Tri-Rail grant for 2nd track” Miami Herald QUOTE: “The federal government has agreed to finance construction of part of an additional track for Tri-Rail, the commuter rail service running between Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties… with two tracks the average weekday ridership is expected to rise from 8,500 trips today to 42,000 by the year 2015. Increased frequency of train service means trains every 20 minutes in the morning and evening peak hours… Tri-Rail began in 1989 as a $118 million project during a 48-mile widening of Interstate 95 that was to last three years.”
- DENVER – “RTD tests light-rail functions on new route” Denver Rocky Mountain News, 8 June 2000. QUOTE: “The southwest light-rail line picked up speed Tuesday toward a July 14 opening, with cars running up to 50 mph over the full length of the new tracks.”
- “Can rail prevail the first time around?” by Paul M. Weyrich, Railway Age June 2000. QUOTE: “At long last, after four failed attempts, voters in Phoenix voted to approve a light rail system. And voters in the Denver area, after several failed attempts, approved a significant expansion of their LRT last November. It took years and years and an extraordinary effort to win voter approval for rail in Phoenix and Denver. Indeed, the vast majority of first-time attempts fail. Why?”
- “Tempe: Rail building won’t impair buses” by Elvia Diaz, The Arizona Republic 2 June 2000. QUOTE: “Tempe’s existing bus transit won’t suffer dramatically as a result of a council decision to build light rail and connect some Valley cities. That’s what some city officials are telling the commuting public after the council on Wednesday decided to construct the light rail with existing transit tax money without a public vote.
- “Suit dismissed over vote count”, The Arizona Republic 2 June 2000, page B3. QUOTE: “A lawsuit claiming that [Phoenix] city officials illegaly counted mail-in ballots in March’s transit election has been dismissed…. Judge Jonathan H. Schwartz said plaintiff Dianne Barker could not show any wrongdoing.”
- DENVER – Federal funds roll in for RTD light-rail line Denver Rocky Mountain News, 2 June 2000. QUOTE: ” RTD will get $34.3 million to finish the Southwest corridor light-rail line, putting to rest concerns about the safety of the line’s bridges, federal lawmakers said Friday.”
- LITTLE ROCK – “[North Little Rock] officials want to reroute streetcars” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 2 June 2000. QUOTE: “North Little Rock officials want to alter the route of the proposed downtown streetcars. But that could push the River Rail project back at least 90 days and cost another half million dollars, said Keith Jones, executive director of Central Arkansas Transit Authority.”
- “Tempe council chugs ahead with light rail” by Elvia Diaz, The Arizona Republic 1 June 2000. QUOTE: “Reneging on previous promises, the Tempe City Council decided Wednesday to build 5.8 miles of a light-rail line without putting the matter to a public vote. The city will use money generated from a sales tax increase for transit approved by the city’s voters in 1996. At the time, Tempe residents were told that the tax would provide money to study light rail, but not to build it.”
- HUDSON-BERGEN, NJ – “Light rail ridership less than expected but growing steadily” The Record, 1 June 2000. QUOTE: “Six weeks after it began running, ridership on New Jersey’s Hudson-Bergen Light Rail Line is less than a third of what officials said they expected it to be. Last week, 4,189 riders bought one-way trips on the 12-stop line between Jersey City and Bayonne. New Jersey Transit officials had said they expected 14,400 trips on its first day of operation April 15 and 18,400 trips by the end of the year. Transit officials said ridership has increased 50 percent from the first week to the sixth week of operation. They said early projections were rough estimates and that it would take longer to persuade motorists to find a new way to get around.”
- “Scottsdale, Tempe to study light rail” by Chip Scutari, The Arizona Republic 15 May 2000, page B1. QUOTE: “The Scottsdale City Council [tonight] is expected to approve… a 12-month study… [of] light rail from northern Scottsdale into downtown Tempe and Phoenix, following Tempe’s approval last Thursday.”
- “Sleek Talgo train needs rail improvements” Bob Petrie, The Arizona Republic 9 May 2000, page B2. QUOTE: Phoenix-Tucson “is a natural travel corridor. It’s cheaper to build rails than freeways… As traffic congestion builds on the roads, trains can zip right on through. The Talgo can be a wonderful ride. It just needs to be put on the right track.”
- “The engine of change: Phoenix-Tucson run shows what could be if money can be found for high-speed train” Arizona Daily Star, 6 May 2000, page A1.
- Train shows its stuff: Advocates dreaming of rail service By Mary Jo Pitzl, The Arizona Republic 6 May 2000. QUOTE: “Passenger rail service briefly returned to Phoenix on Friday, powered by the hopes of rail advocates who want to restore intercity service to Tucson. Amtrak officials say regular rail service between Arizona’s two largest cities will return, although no one should pack his bags yet. Increased traffic on Interstate 10 propels rail prospects, but the lack of money holds it back. Still, said Gil Mallery, president of Amtrak West, the resumption of intercity rail is a question of ‘when, not if.’”
- Larger view of photo CAPTION: “An Amtrak 300-passenger ‘Talgo’ train comes to a stop next to Bank One Ballpark to take on riders for a trip to Tucson., Ariz., Friday, May 5, 2000 in dowtown Phoenix. Amtrak and the Arizona Department of Transportation hope to establish passenger rail service between Phoenix’s Union Station and Tucson’s Amtrak Station.” Photo by Paul Connors (AP)
- Tucson-Phoenix train not exactly on the fast track by Michael R. Graham, Tucson Citizen, 6 May 2000. QUOTE: “A pair of parallel steel rails is the path to relieving congestion along the Interstate 10 corridor between Tucson and Phoenix, transportation and state officials believe. But there’s a catch. Money and the lack of it. Amtrak, the Arizona Department of Transportation and the Arizona Rail Passenger Association yesterday unveiled the future of travel between the state’s two largest cities.”
- “Rail enthusiasts push high-speed link to Tucson: Slick Amtrak Talgo train will cruise into Phoenix for transportation fair.” East Valley Tribune 3 May 2000, page A1.
- “Valley Should Take Smaller Steps to Untangle Transit Snarl” Susan Bitter Smith in the Arizona Republic 2 April 2000. QUOTE: “Instead of attempting the broad, sweeping tax plans of the past, which require new dollar sources, let’s look at smaller bites at the apple that can begin to produce some identifiable solutions to the problem. Why not rethink the Arizona Rail Passenger’s Association’s recommendation or look at neighborhood transportation hubs that can enhance the Valley’s bus service? They may be less glamourous, but without expansive new taxes may establish credibility for future programs.”
- “Transit tax in Phoenix surprised the country” by Martin F. Nolan of the Boston Globe as reprinted in Tucson’s Arizona Daily Star. QUOTE: “The most conservative big city in the country voted March 14 to build a mass transit system. The ferociously anti-tax precincts of the desert have surrendered much of their cowboy heritage. By a margin of 65 percent, Phoenix ditched ideology to raise its sales tax from 7.1 percent to 7.5 percent, creating a multibillion-dollar fund to double the bus fleet, restore Sunday bus service (after a 60-year absence), and to build a trolley line down its main drag.”
- “Export Development Corp.’s secret $1-billion deal with U.S. giant called ‘blatant discrimination against Canadians’” The Ottawa Citizen, 22 March 2000. QUOTE: “Canada’s passenger rail advocacy group, Transport 2000, has slammed the Chretien government for secretly lending $1 billion to [Amtrak] while slashing funding for VIA Rail service in Canada.”
- “Transit OK will bring big, but slow, changes” by Mary Jo Pitzl, The Arizona Republic, 20 March 2000, page B1. ABSTRACT: While some bus improvements go into effect this week, construction of the light rail system will begin in 2003, with its operation to start in 2006.
- UTAH – “Commuter rail is necessary Deseret News editorial, 20 March 2000. QUOTE: “Make no mistake, commuter rail needs to be an integral part of the Wasatch Front’s overall transportation plans for the 21st century. Light rail won’t serve any community outside of the Salt Lake area for many years. A heavier commuter rail, therefore, would be of particular benefit to people in outlying areas who commute into the city.”
- “Tempe adjusting bus routes, timing in peak hours” The Arizona Republic, 17 March 2000.
- “Tempe prepared to fight US 60 widening” The Arizona Republic, 17 March 2000.
- “Transit win spurs other cities to act” by Mary Jo Pitzl, The Arizona Republic, 16 March 2000, page A1. QUOTE: “Tempe and Scottsdale are ready to move ahead with plans for electric light-rail trains in the wake of Phoenix’s big transit win.”
- “Rail bid’s next stop: Washington” by Mary Jo Pitzl, The Arizona Republic, 15 March 2000, page A14. QUOTE: “The lopsided victory of Phoenix’s transit tax is one for the record books – and more. ‘This sends a message to the (Arizona) Congressional delegation,’ said Steve Beard, deputy project directory for Valley Connections, a regional effort to build rail. ‘Not only did we win, we blew them away.’”
- “Transit vote impact to be felt regionally” The Arizona Republic, 16 March 2000, page EV6. QUOTE: “By creating a core for regional mass transit, Phoenix provides rationale for Tempe and Mesa to link up.”
- “Phoenix voters put transit on track” The Arizona Republic, 15 March 2000, page A1. QUOTE: “By a nearly 2-1 ratio, Phoenix voters on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a citywide expansion of bus service and the Valley’s start of electric light-rail trains. ‘All aboard!’ Phoenix Mayor Skip Rimsza hollered as he celebrated the surprisingly wide margin of victory.”
- “8 (illegitimate) reasons to vote against mass transit” by Steve Wilson, The Arizona Republic 14 March 2000. QUOTE: “Still on the fence, unsure about giving Phoenix a decent mass-transit system? Here are eight reasons to vote against Proposition 2000 today and why I don’t buy any of them…”
- “Traffic Thicket” by Laura Laughlin, Phoenix New Times 9 March 2000. QUOTE: “Next time you’re sitting in traffic, look up. Opponents of a proposed Phoenix mass transit system would like you to picture their own pie-in-the-sky people-mover — an overhead sky-rail system, where a computerized chauffeur zips you along at 100 mph in your private SkyTran vehicle. …One problem. SkyTran is the brain child of an inventor whose biggest accomplishments are a fire-breathing giant robot and a flying beverage can cooler.”
- “Transit tax foes deride light-rail plan” by Mary Jo Pitzl The Arizona Republic, 10 March 2000. QUOTE: “Armed with bouquets of flowers, opponents of the Phoenix transit tax held a news conference Thursday to ‘bury’ the proposed electric rail plan that voters will decide Tuesday. Meanwhile, a former Arizona official who denounced the last Phoenix transit initiative did an about face and urged support for Proposition 2000.”
- “Get on board, Phoenix” Letter by Mark Meyer, The Arizona Republic, 10 March 2000. Bus and rail riders arrive at work relaxed, not harried.
- “Too high a price for transit” Letter by Martha Fay, The Arizona Republic, 10 March 2000. Says without the transit tax, in ten years “we’d be in about the same fix as we would without the tax.” (Using the “one percent” argument)
- “Light-rail line would revamp Central” by Mary Jo Pitzl The Arizona Republic, March 9, 2000
- “Valley traffic costs drivers $1 billion” by Mary Jo Pitzl The Arizona Republic, 8 March 2000, page B1. QUOTE: “Congestion costs more than frayed nerves. It burns 93 million excess gallons of gasoline in the Phoenix area, at a cost of $1 billion a year, a national transportation researched told the Phoenix City Council on Tuesday.”
- “Transportation that can change lives: Buses carry hope for Prop. 2000″ Editorial, The Arizona Republic, 8 March 2000, page B8. QUOTE: “Our anticipated growth — 600,000 more people in 20 years and perhaps 2 million more cars — demands that we have a reliable and efficient [transportation] system. Proposition 2000 will get us there.”
- UTAH – “Tax increase called key to commuter rail” (Salt Lake City) Deseret News 8 March 2000. QUOTE: “Mayors from two dozen Wasatch Front communities support a commuter rail running from Ogden to Provo and eventually extending from Brigham City to Payson.”
- “SkyTran: Virtual alternative to transit woes?” by Mary Jo Pitzl The Arizona Republic 7 March 2000. QUOTE: “A week before the election, some opponents of Phoenix’s transit plan are floating an engineer’s space-age idea as the answer to transportation woes in the Valley. But SkyTran is only a concept, not a reality. SkyTran president Doug Malewicki is the first to acknowledge that his transit system exists only on a Web page.”
- “Light-rail system: Not only sensible, it’s way cool ” by O. Ricardo Pimentel The Arizona Republic 7 March 2000. QUOTE: “I write this somewhat tongue in cheek because I don’t really think for a second that we should build a transit system simply because it’s cool. If we did, we’d have monorails, gondolas, canals and individual rocket packs. No, we should build light rail, passing Proposition 2000 next Tuesday, because we have to. Way cool is just a side benefit.”
- UTAH – “Commuter Rail Leaps Back to Life: Within a few years, trains may roll between Provo and Ogden” The Salt Lake Tribune, 7 March 2000.
- PROPOSITION 2000: PRO AND CON. Debate, The Arizona Republic, 6 March 2000, page B8.
- PRO: “Price not too high to avert gridlock in Valley’s future” by Gregg Alpert
- CON: “Transit tax is not only alternative available to Valley” by Roy Miller
- OREGON – “Plan gaining steam to return rail service to the Pioneer route” The Oregonian 5 March 2000. QUOTE: “A task force aims to start service going east from Portland, but Amtrak says the line must pay for itself.”
- “Rail system best option for Phoenix” The Arizona Republic, 3 March 2000, page B8. QUOTE: “Even if we could build a limitless number of freeways, we couldn’t build our way out of congestion. We need a choice of transit options, and we believe a rapid rail system will be as important to the Valley’s future as freeways have been.”
- “Top state officials mum on Phoenix transit vote” The Arizona Republic, 3 March 2000, page B7. QUOTE: “With the 2000 vote looming, Gov. Jane Hull has told her agency chiefs to refrain from public endorsements or disses [sic] of Proposition 2000.”
- “Transit boondoggle looms” Letter by Jay Luxor of Glendale, The Arizona Republic, 3 March 2000, page B8.
- “Hop a bus and vote ‘yes’” Letter by Mary Hougland of Phoenix, The Arizona Republic, 3 March 2000, page B8. QUOTE: “As an elderly rider whose sole means of transportation is the bus, I would love to somehow get the schedules of those empty buses since I seem only to catch buses which are full, often carrying more standing passengers than seated.”
- “Pro-transit campaign spurs gifts” The Arizona Republic, 2 March 2000, page A1. QUOTE: “”
- “Backers, foes rally to make their points” The Arizona Republic, 2 March 2000, page A12. QUOTE: “”
- ” Reasons aplenty for light rail” Opinion, Joel Nilsson, The Arizona Republic, 1 March 2000, page B9.
- “Transit tax support slips but holds lead, poll says” The Arizona Republic, 1 March 2000, page B3. QUOTE: “A new poll says support for the Phoenix transit tax is shrinking, but the measure still leads by a 21-point margin.”
- “A commute that brings a smile” Seattle Times, 1 March 2000. SOUNDER commuter service demonstrated.
- “Dallas sets transit example Phoenix can emulate” by Steve Wilson, The Arizona Republic, 29 February 2000, page A2. QUOTE: “People in Dallas not only like [their light rail system], they favor a new bond election to pay for faster expansion. The Phoenix plan won’t erase traffic problems or purify the air, but it will help. Transit in Dallas is working well and has earned broad public support. It’s time for this city to get off the dime.”
- “Amtrak plans to increase service, covering 21 states” Arizona Republic, 29 February 2000, page A4.
- “Amtrak to boost service, add routes” Don Phillips in the Washington Post as reprinted in the Salt Lake Tribune, 29 February 2000.
- “Amtrak’s plans center on D-FW: Area crucial to railroad’s goal of riding national expansion to profitability” The Dallas Morning News 29 February 2000
- “Amtrak plans expansion, new routes for next 3 years” USA Today, 29 February 2000, page 4A.
- “Amtrak to expand distance service A plan to lengthen routes – and to haul mail and parcels on passenger trains – is aimed at profitability.” Philadelphia Inquirer, 29 February 2000. QUOTE: “Rerouting the Florida-to-Los Angeles Sunset Limited. Instead of going from Houston to El Paso across largely unpopulated areas, it would be rerouted at Houston to go through Dallas-Fort Worth and several cities in western Texas. In Fort Worth it would connect with the Chicago-San Antonio Texas Eagle.”
- “All aboard: Amtrak to try express, luxury trains” Bergen Record, 29 February 2000.
- “Amtrak expansion includes Toledo” Toledo Blade, 29 February 2000.
- “Looking back at rail rides in Phoenix” by Richard Ruelas, The Arizona Republic, 28 February 2000. A retrospective of the Phoenix Street Railway.
- “Prop. 2000 won’t ease traffic, critics say” The Arizona Republic, 27 February 2000, page A1.
- Transcript of Senator McCain on “This Week” 27 February 2000. Includes a brief discussion of Amtrak.
- “Phoenix transit vote will have wide impact” The Arizona Republic, 27 February 2000, page A27.
- “Amtrak thinking big for future” The Arizona Republic, 27 February 2000, page A27.
- “Amtrak plans to fight back against cutbacks by expanding” CBC News, 27 February 2000
- “Amtrak plans new passenger service” Bergen (NJ) Record 27 February 2000
- ” Express buses would be first transit beneficiary” The Arizona Republic, 26 February 2000, page B1.Express bus provisions of the transit initiative are detailed.
- ” 7 chambers back transit tax proposal” The Arizona Republic, 26 February 2000, page B3. The chambers of commerce of Greater Phoenix, Chandler, Gilbert, the Northwest Valley, Tempe and the Tri-City West area have all endorsed the Phoenix transit proposal.
- “Price of light rail” Letter by Gary Fallon, The Arizona Republic, 26 February 2000, page B9. Mr. Fallon opposes the transit tax, using outdated statistics (he says highways cost $35 million per mile, when the latest ADOT figures are closer to $75 to $100 million for urban highways).
- “Light-rail distortion” Letter, Jeffrey Pugh, ibid. QUOTE: “The opposition to the Phoenix transit plan offers no solutions… [their] ultimate goal is to dismantle all forms of government-sponsored mass transit, and maintain congested highways and streets. If we are to believe opponents, if citizens vote down the transit plan, the congestion and pollution will disappear through osmosis.”
- “A whopper of a fib: Critics distort transit statistics” Editorial, The Arizona Republic, 25 February 2000, page B8.
- “Early votes on transit tax trickling in” By Al Toby The Arizona Republic 25 February 2000.
- “Senators Urge Amtrak To Expand Services As It Approaches Independence” Dow Jones News, 23 February 2000.
- “Amtrak needs more than quick fixes” Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, 23 February 2000
- “Vote YES for better transit” Editorial, The Arizona Republic, 16 February 2000, page B10.
- “Give rail a chance” Letter, Grady Gammage Jr., The Arizona Republic, 16 February 2000. Mr. Gammage says transit is not a “magic bullet” but “we have become a big, serious city [and] we need a serious and usable transit system.” He supports the bus and rail improvements in Proposition 2000.
- “Price is going up” Letter by William Lindley, The Arizona Republic, 15 February 2000, page B6. QUOTE: “Citizens of Phoenix should ask themselves, if we continue to wait to build the rail system we so desperately need, how much more will it cost in a few years when we finally decide to say Yes?”
- “Light-rail cost put at $43 million a mile” by Mary Jo Pitzl, The Arizona Republic, 13 February 2000, page A1.
- “Din intensifies as vote over light rail nears” by Mary Jo Pitzl, The Arizona Republic, 13 February 2000. Includes photos and comparison of four Western cities with light rail.
- OPPOSITION CAN’T STAND TOE-TO-TOE, FACT TO FACT. (Source: Transit 2000) Just one hour before the first scheduled debate on the Transit 2000 Initiative, Opposition Chairwoman Becky Fenger cancelled the event scheduled for KTAR on January 31, 2000. Apparently, opponents are too busy floating false facts and skewed statistics to engage in a face- to- face debate with Valerie Manning of the Phoenix Chamber of Commerce. In fact, the opposition was so involved in lobbying patently incorrect facts today that, once again, Transit 2000 Chairman, Peggy Bilsten had to issue a public statement to reiterate the fact “that contrary to misinformation being generated by the Transit 2000 opposition, Park and Ride lots have always been and will continue to always be 100% free” to transit riders. Additionally, the Transit 2000 Initiative will provide new funding for added security at Park and Ride lots, Transit Centers, on buses and on trains.
- “Imprisoned in own homes” Letter by Thomas Milldebrandt, Transit 2000 Committee member, The Arizona Republic, 1 February 2000, page B6. QUOTE: “When Phoenix voters go to the polls March 14 to vote on Proposition 2000, they should know that 32,933 households in Phoenix do not own a motor vehicle… without your YES vote, those households will still be prisoners in their own homes on Sundays.”
- COLORADO — Time saved after I-25 widening in doubt Denver Post, 1 February 2000. QUOTES: “The latest state data show that $700 million of highway widening will save rush-hour motorists in 2020 as little as one minute per trip after the construction compared with doing nothing… That savings could disappear if the state study was updated to show 3.2 million people in the region in 2020 – as currently projected – instead of the 2.7 million figure used for the current study, environmentalists say. ‘It’s obvious that the time savings is going to suffer or even evaporate or disappear,’ said Jon Esty, president of the Colorado Rail Passenger Association. ‘More people are going to create more congestion.’ They say light rail, also part of the plan, handles added ridership better than freeways handle more cars.”
- TEXAS — [Austin] “Light-rail heading for Nov. 7 election,” American-Statesman 1 February 2000. QUOTE: “Light rail is almost certainly coming before Austin voters in November, with the $642.7 million beginning line expected to be put on the same ballot as the presidential races.”
- “Goldwaters: Institute missed the bus on transit plan” by Steve Wilson, The Arizona Republic, 27 January 2000, page A2. Members of the Goldwater family speak out against the Goldwater Institute’s stand against the Phoenix transit proposal. QUOTE: “I can’t speak for Barry” [says Susan Goldwater] “but knowing his record on issues that were vital to the community, I believe he would favor it.”
- “Transit foes distort issue with their ’1%’” by Valerie Manning, The Arizona Republic, 27 January 2000, page B7. QUOTE: “A question was posed to John Semmens, who opposes the transit plan: You don’t like the Phoenix transit plan, can you tell us what system of transportation you would support? His answer: none. The plan’s opponents have an unblemished record of opposing public issues They’re always the opposition, the naysayers.”
- “Light-rail costs far outweigh benefits” by Evan Scharf, The Arizona Republic, 27 January 2000, page B7. Mr. Scharf, a member of the board of the Goldwater Institute, defends the Institute’s report.
- “Light rail worth time and effort” Letter by Lawrence Fleming, Phoenix Trolley Museum, The Arizona Republic, 25 January 2000, page B6. QUOTE: “Opponents of the light-rail component of Phoenix’s proposed transit plan incorrectly claim light-rail transit is obsolete.”
- “Tempe firm on freeway widening” The Arizona Republic, 22 January 2000, page EV1.
- ILLINOIS — “Light-rail spurs development” The Southtown, 21 January 2000. QUOTE: “Although the latest extension of metropolitan St. Louis’ light-rail system is not scheduled to open until next year, construction is already spurring development along the route from East St. Louis to MidAmerica Airport.”
- TENNESSEE — Nashville: Commuter rail route’s stations, fares unveiled The Tennessean , 20 January 2000. QUOTE: “Here’s a glance at the future of commuter rail in Middle Tennessee. A 32-mile trip from downtown Lebanon to Nashville’s Riverfront Station will cost $3 and take about as long as it would to drive, about 50 minutes. Passengers can choose from two or three trains in the morning, starting around 7:15 a.m., and three in the afternoon, starting around 4:45 p.m.”
- “Tempe view against U.S. 60 based in fact,” by Dick Thomas, The Arizona Republic, 18 January 2000, page EV4. QUOTES: “No matter how many [lanes] are built, population growth and the even faster increase in vehicle miles traveled will always fill the added lanes to their capacity – and beyond… the Superstition’s [US60] “T” intersection with I-10 dooms it to traffic backup almost irrespective of the number of its lanes.”
- “Mass transit, not freeways” by James Macier, Letter, The Arizona Republic, 18 January 2000, page B6. QUOTE: “Tempe has the right idea concerning mass transit and one only needs to cast an eye upward to realize [to the brown haze] that something needs to be done, and that more freeways are not the answer.”
- “Tourists need transit system” by Stephen W. Keller, Letter, The Arizona Republic, 17 January 2000. QUOTES: “I am a tourist in your fair and beautiful city, attending a national conference in downtown Phoenix… While I am sure that a light rail system is on some planners’ chalkboard, as a tourist I’d like to add my wholehearted endorsement for the installation of such a system. Unfortunately, your city reminds me of Los Angeles and Atlanta. Once you’re at a downtown hotel, it’s quite difficult to soak in local culture, restaurants, coffee shops and other retail outlets without a car… I hope Phoenix has the foresight to move such an idea from the drawing board and into the streets. Phoenix is much too big – and beautiful – to offer its visitors anything less.”
- ” Noisy debate over Phoenix transit tax” by Mary Jo Pitzl, The Arizona Republic 13 January 2000, page A1. QUOTE: “Louder than the squeal of bus brakes, the campaign for a Phoenix transit tax kicked off Wednesday with promises that it will be a noisy, prominent debate…” Advocates “say they’ll talk loudly about their plans to expand bus service, and will not mince words about the need for a light-rail line through central Phoenix.”
- “Time to add mass transit,” by James Chamberlin, Letter, The Arizona Republic, 9 January 2000.
- “Editorial on freeway widening told only part of the story” by Neil Giuliano (Mayor of Tempe), The Arizona Republic, 5 January 2000, page B9. QUOTE: “The once-proposed widening of the Superstition Freeway [US 60] through Tempe would have provided minimal relief. It would have been pure folly to spend tens of millions of dollars to accomplish virtually nothing regarding freeway congestion. We can still work, however, to improve our regional traffic woes with a comprehensive, multimodal transportatio plan that includes: complention of additional freeways…, further expansion of transit and bus systems, additional park-and-ride lots, and additional HOV lanes…”
Traffic outlook grim: $66 billion proposed for highways, transit December 30th, 2000
by Carol Sowers, The Arizona Republic, 30 December 2000.
QUOTES: “You think gridlock is bad now? Fast-forward to 2019, when transportation gurus predict Valley motorists could spend 300,000 hours a year idling in rush-hour traffic, 10 times more than in 1995… The most ambitious of the task force’s four proposals for untangling traffic could cost as much as $66 billion over the next 20 years. The cost may be paid by raising gas and sales taxes. The three other proposals could cost taxpayers $19 billion to $64 billion. The $66 billion would pay for widening highways such as Interstate 10, building commuter rail, expanding bus and airline service and constructing a freeway that would circle the outskirts of the Valley.”
Commuter train added to East Valley light-rail picture December 11th, 2000
“…Fast route to downtown Phoenix may be option for Mesa, Chandler.” East Valley Tribune, 11 December 2000, Page A1.
QUOTE: “Light-rail construction has yet to begin, but transportation officials area already talking about the need to build a complementary commuter train system to serve the East Valley’s rapidly growing population… officials in Chandler and Mesa say that [light rail system] may not be enough.”
2000 President’s Report December 1st, 2000
Delivered by Bill Lindley at the Awards Dinner and Annual Meeting at Bashas’ Art Museum, 1 December 2000.
This, the last year of the Twentieth Century, has been a busy one, and one in which this Association has contributed to the great strides multi-modal transportation has taken in Arizona. We are fulfilling our Mission: “To advocate and promote modern rail passenger service within Arizona and between Arizona and other states.”
Our January and February were filled with preparations for the transit vote in March. ARPA members contributed time and information to the campaign. As you may recall, Phoenix voters by a two-to-one margin approved an expanded network of buses complemented by urban light rail transit.
In May of this year, we played a major role in helping ADOT and Amtrak West run the Talgo demonstration from Wickenburg to Glendale and from Phoenix to Tucson and back. This showed the public, private industry, lawmakers and people at all levels of government how modern passenger service would benefit all of southern Arizona. We were impressed with how smoothly this state-of-the-art train traveled on the good stretches of track, and how much needs to be done on some parts of the Phoenix-Tucson line. We saw how tracks, signals, and grade crossings will need upgrading before we can begin Regional Rail.
I again would like to express my gratitude to all our sponsors without whom the demonstrations, and the wonderful reception at Leinenkugel’s, would not have been possible.
The following day, “Transpo 2000″ followed in the footsteps of our Phoenix Union Station Days celebrations by highlighting the past and the future of passenger travel in the Grand Canyon State. Thousands came to see the luxurious TALGO, Valley Metro’s latest buses, and Arizona’s two largest tourist railroads, the Grand Canyon Railway — which next celebrates the centennial of that line’s construction — and the Verde Canyon Railroad which this November twenty-third celebrated its tenth year of excursion service. Together, these two railroads now carry nearly two hundred thousand passengers each year.
Since then, we have worked with Amtrak to see what can be done about returning the Sunset Limited and Texas Eagle to a direct Phoenix routing.
Starting in July, several of our Board members spent over a month writing the “Rail Passenger Service Goals for Arizona” report (available on our website www.azrail.org) which creates a vision for urban, regional, and intercity trains. Our purpose was to educate and inform others, but we found that compiling this paper brought us together as well, for each of us had to learn, and to defend and strengthen our arguments. I’m pleased to say the Goals paper is an all-around success.
Our members expanded our educational outreach this Autumn at events like the Scottsdale Railfair and the Scottsdale Chamber Showcase. In 2001 we will exhibit at the Great American Train Show, where we will explain to “railfans” young and old why trains are not just a fun hobby but a real way to combat pollution, congestion, and Road Rage.
Over the course of the year, ARPA expanded its relations with other Rail Passenger Associations by moving to a shared newsletter, the Western Rail Passenger Review. We are now affiliated with the United Rail Passenger Alliance. Both of these increase our effectiveness as an Association.
Where are we going this year? The Light Rail election in Phoenix may be behind us… but now comes the hard part, making sure it’s done RIGHT.
Over the next few years, Interstate 10 between Phoenix and Tucson will be widened to three lanes. In Tucson, I-10 is slated to be under construction for most of the next decade. In Tempe and Mesa, the Superstition Highway will be widened and under construction for several years. And all our highways need extra capacity. As described in the Goals paper, we will pursue the immediate start of southern Arizona Regional Rail, and Commuter Rail in Phoenix and Tucson to mitigate the congestion in advance of the advent of construction.
We will continue, as we have since 1978, to push for Amtrak’s Sunset Limited and Texas Eagle to serve Tucson and Phoenix daily with overnight service to southern California. And as California extends its Metrolink Regional Rail almost to the state line at Yuma over the next few years, we must work today to lay the groundwork for joint Arizona / California Tucson-Phoenix-Los Angeles-San Diego corridor service.
We will continue to educate and inform the public, and to work with the Railroads, Amtrak, the State, the Counties and the Cities, with other advocacy groups to bring all our goals to fruition.