In support of Sunset Limited restructuring November 12th, 2009
(Sent November 2009)
The Honorable Thomas C. Carper
Chairman, Board of Directors
National Railroad Passenger Corporation
60 Massachusetts Avenue, NE
Washington, DC 20002
Re: Restructuring of Sunset Limited service
Since our inception in 1984, the Arizona Rail Passenger Association has recognized the need for daily Sunset Limited operation and has worked to educate Arizona government and business leaders and other regional stakeholders on the importance of improved intercity passenger rail service. We understand that the restructuring of the Sunset may be on the agenda for this monthâ€™s Amtrak Board meeting and we urge the implementation of daily operation as soon as is practicable.
This past year, there has been some discussionâ€”both within Amtrak and among passenger rail advocatesâ€”of restructuring the Sunset Limited by combining it with the Texas Eagle and operating a through Chicago-Los Angeles train via Texas and Southern Arizona. We support this concept. Historically, leisure travel between Arizona and the Midwest has far out-paced that between Arizona and the Southeast, and current highway and airline data suggest that this trend continues.
Of course, we would also like to see the train re-routed back through Phoenix. Phoenix-Los Angeles is the 15th most heavily traveled airline corridor in North America. Moreover, returning the Sunset to Phoenix would set the stage for future Phoenix-Tucson regional rail serviceâ€”fulfilling another vital unmet need.
We are eager to provide you with any additional input you may need as you plan the restructuring of the Sunset Limited and appreciate your consideration.
Robert H. Bohannan, AICP, President
Position on Phoenix-Tucson Routing January 20th, 2009
(Regarding current discussions of Phoenix-Tucson regional rail)
Adopted by the Board of Directors, 2009-1-17.
- That the current UPRR alignment via Coolidge represents the most expeditious route to early implementation, and should be implemented and built first; and
- That the former Maricopa to Tempe alignment, to supplement future growth, should additionally be planned, but built after operations on the Coolidge alignment commence.
METRO: 19th Avenue and Mesa Extensions January 14th, 2009
Construction on the 3.2-mile northwest extension of the Metro light rail line could start by April if everything goes according to plan.
The only caveat is the price tag, which wonâ€™t be known until late January or early February…
[Meanwhile in Mesa]
…Although the final reports have yet to be written, Mesa is leaning toward extending the light rail line from its current origination point at Sycamore and Main streets east to Power Road, according to Mesa Deputy Transportation Director Mike James.
â€œIn general terms, our findings about ridership and demand are that light rail would be better (than other transit options), and extending it down Main Street would make for a more seamless trip,â€ James said.
Rest of the story in the Business Journal of Phoenix, 26 December 2008.
Updated Schematic Map June 19th, 2008
Here is an updated schematic map of proposed rail passenger service points in Arizona, showing existing and potentially revitalized rail lines, as published in the May 2008 newsletter:
1983: ARPA Proposes Phoenix Light Rail June 19th, 2008
Twenty-five years after ARPA proposed light rail for metro Phoenix, it’s nearly here.
Our original proposal would have used the UPRR right-of-way, as opposed to the eventually designed street-oriented system.Â But as you can see, early on we identified the high-capacity corridor… Here is the same page with the METRO Rail system as built in blue:
Moral: If you have a good idea, and stick to it long enough, and convince enough people, anything is possible…