News & Reviews News Wire Bill seeks to block Arizona from accepting funds for passenger rail service

Bill seeks to block Arizona from accepting funds for passenger rail service

By Trains Staff | February 13, 2024

Amendment is one of several added to continuing legislation for state Department of Transportation

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Logo of Arizona Department of TransportationPHOENIX — Republican legislators in Arizona are seeking to block rail service between Phoenix and Tucson as a condition of continuing legislation to maintain the state’s Department of Transportation, the Arizona Daily Star reports.

One of the conditions added to the continuing legislation, SB1184, by the Senate Committee on Transportation, Technology, and Missing Children is that the state DOT could not accept grants, donations, aid or any other federal funds to operate commuter rail service. State Sen. Jake Hoffman (R-Queen Creek) called promoting 100-year-old technology. “Nobody’s going to ride it,” Hoffman said, according to the newspaper, saying funds should go to expansion of Interstate 10.

“People love their personal automobiles,” Hoffman said. “They love the freedom that it entails them, they love the ability to go when they want, where they want, how they want.” He also said he had a particular interest in blocking the Phoenix-Tucson proposal because possible routes would run through his district.

Other amendments would block the department from proposing plans to reduce greenhouse gases or motor vehicle miles traveled, reducing the number of lanes on any road, or building or maintaining electric vehicle chargers.

The Phoenix-Tucson route was one of those included in the Federal Railroad Administration’s Corridor Identification and Development Program; the Arizona DOT was sponsor of that application and as such was awarded a $500,000 grant for further study of the route [see “Full list of passenger routes …,” Trains News Wire, Dec. 8, 2023].

The amended bill would still have to be approved by the full Senate and, eventually, signed by Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs. An aide for Hobbs told the paper that “politicizing ADOT’s continuation is a non-starter.”

2 thoughts on “Bill seeks to block Arizona from accepting funds for passenger rail service

  1. Rail in most parts of the country keeps gaining in attendance but since Republicans think oil and nothing but oil they just don’t get it.

  2. What a backwards way to think… “If only there was just one more lane on this 10-lane highway, that’ll solve a congested road!” Nevermind investing in something that could take hundreds or thousands of cars off the roads each day.

    Just look at Virginia. Last year, over 3,600 people took one of the state-supported routes EACH DAY and that’s a nearly 30% increase over the year before. Covid aside, ridership is growing by leaps and bounds because the option to take the train is there, and it’s convenient. Build it, and they will come.

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