Three Possibilities for Phoenix-to-Tucson Passenger Rail Line to Be Studied


The plans for a passenger rail line between Phoenix and Tucson are crawling at a snail's pace.

However, state transportation officials announced today that they're going to "study the feasibility" of three routes for the potential rail line.

See also:
-Plans for Train From Phoenix to Tucson OK'd by State Transportation Board

One plan runs alongside Interstate 10, while the other two would run around the East Valley.

The three plans for passenger rail between Phoenix and Tucson.

Technically, there are five options for the rail line -- the three shown above, a combination of the "Orange" and "Yellow" plans, and the fifth option, which is nothing.

There previously were seven plans for the rail line route, so this is progress.

Though these all seem like grand plans that include a lot of work, the Arizona Department of Transportation has the caveat:
There is currently no construction schedule and no funding identified for a project to build a rail system between Phoenix and Tucson. It will be up to the public and policymakers to decide if the project is feasible and how to generate the funding to pay for the project.
What they're doing right now is trying to develop the plan that is needed to get authorization and funding from various local and federal entities.

So, cars and bus shuttles will remain the only viable Phoenix-to-Tucson transportation methods for quite some time.

Here's where transportation officials go from here:
Now that the three final alternatives have been identified for further study, ADOT and the study team will move forward with the Draft Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement. There will be a 45-day public comment period early next year, along with three public hearings, that will address the Draft EIS and allow the public and stakeholders to comment on the document.

This fall, ADOT will participate in another round of public outreach events in Maricopa, Pinal and Pima counties to provide community members with information on the progress of the study and the next steps. ADOT is working toward establishing the one preferred alternative for further study by the end of 2013 and wrapping up the study next year.
A lot of information about the proposed rail line can be found in this ADOT pamphlet.

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Follow Matthew Hendley on Twitter at @MatthewHendley.

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WhoKnows topcommenter

As the South Mountain-202 freeway has been planned and funded for many years now, and not a shovel of dirt has been moved, my bet is that a child born this year might live to see rail between Tuscon and Phx.

It's a good idea and should be high speed so there will be a reason not to drive, and should be extended north to Sedona and Flag - with an extension to Vegas!

Robert Ruiz
Robert Ruiz

(!!Wow Por fin Encontre la forma de saber quien ve mi perfil, no saben las sopresas que me lleve

Kae Oz
Kae Oz

They promised me this when I was a Kid. And that was awhile ago.


Having grown up in Tucson and now living in Phoenix for 15+ years, a rail line between the two would be fine but the problem is that there is no real way to conveniently get around either city once you get to your destination.  Phoenix is getting better with the light rail and Tucson is getting better with the Sun Link street car, but both projects reach only a very small segment of the overall area.  If you have someone who will pick you up at the other end of the line you will be OK, but if not there is a good chance you'll need to rent a car when you get there.  And if you need to rent a car when you get there, you might as well drive down there in your own car.   My opinion is that this project is wasted money until there are better options for getting around both cities for those arriving by passenger rail.

WhoKnows topcommenter

@JohnQ.Public I can see it being VERY useful for Phx kids that are going to school at the UofA, or Tuscon kids going to ASU.  That would mean stops at the two campuses.  It would make it easy for "carless college kids" to get home for a weekend.

It does appear that yellow and orange go to Sky Harbor, and people going to Tuscon could fly into Phx cheaper than Tuscon and then hop the train, and then maybe a resort/spa shuttle.

valleynative topcommenter


Back in the dark ages, you could buy bus tickets in the Student Union building and the Greyhound bus picked up right in front every Friday night and returned every Sunday night.  I'd guess it still does.

The bus was never very full.


I used to (25 years ago) take a shuttle from Speedway/Craycroft in Tucson to Sky Harbor because flights to the east coast were easily $400-$500 cheaper out of Phoenix than out of Tucson.  I think that both the shuttle and the fares have changed since then.

WhoKnows topcommenter

@valleynative @WhoKnows On the other hand, I spent a bunch of time in Europe, and on weekends, I'd "explore".  Rarely even thought about driving, as the trains were so much easier!

WhoKnows topcommenter

@valleynative @WhoKnows Does Greyhound even have a terminal in Phx any more?  

For me, I went to college about 70 miles from home (a large city like Phoenix, and a smaller city like Tuscon), and the buses - multiple (it wasn't a big name), were PACKED Thursday night to Sunday night.  But then again, most college kids in those days didn't have a car.

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