By Craig McDermott
Note: This post is a “copy and paste” of a press release from the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT). There is one significant edit: I deleted a reference to meeting scheduled for Phoenix. It was scheduled for Tuesday evening, *before* I started this post. 🙂
Public hearings take place this week for ADOT’s Passenger Rail Corridor Study
Community members encouraged to attend, comment on Draft Environmental Impact Statement
PHOENIX – Three public hearings are scheduled this week to encourage community members to review and comment on the environmental document that outlines a plan for a passenger rail system connecting Arizona’s two major metropolitan areas.
The Arizona Department of Transportation, in partnership with the Federal Railroad Administration, published the Draft Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement for ADOT’s Passenger Rail Corridor Study: Tucson to Phoenix. The document is part of a federally required review process, governed by the National Environmental Policy Act, which provides the public with an opportunity to review and comment on the document, along with the recommended alternative.
The three public hearings will be held in the three counties that make up the Sun Corridor, the route of the proposed rail system: Maricopa, Pinal and Pima counties. A video summarizing the studies will be shown at the hearings and members of the rail study team will be available to answer questions. Public hearings will be held:
- Sept. 16: 5:30 to 7 p.m. — Tucson Convention Center (Leo Rich Theater); 260 S. Church Ave., Tucson, 85701
- Sept. 17: 5:30 to 7 p.m. — Central Arizona College, Signal Peak Campus (Room M101); 8470 N. Overfield Road, Coolidge, 85128
The entire Draft Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement is available for download at azdot.gov/passengerrail. Printed copies are also available for review at these locations through Oct. 30:
- ADOT, Research Center Library; 206 S. 17th Ave., Phoenix, 85007
- Phoenix Public Library, Burton Barr; 1221 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, 85004
- Chandler Public Library, Downtown Branch; 22 S. Delaware St., Chandler, 85225
- Gilbert Maricopa County Library District, Southeast Regional Library; 775 N. Greenfield Road, Gilbert, 85234
- Pima Community College, Northwest Campus Library; 7600 N. Shannon Road, Tucson, 85709
- Central Arizona College, Signal Peak Campus Library; 8470 N. Overfield Road, Coolidge, 85128
The deadline for all public comments is Oct. 30, 2015. Comments may be provided at one of the hearings, submitted via the ADOT website at azdot.gov/passengerrail, emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org, or mailed or faxed to:
ADOT Passenger Rail Study Team
c/o Central Creative
24 W. Camelback Rd., Suite 479
Phoenix, AZ 85013
Fax: (602) 368-9645
The Draft Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement considers two rail alternatives and a no-build option in order to identify the most appropriate corridor for a potential passenger rail line between Tucson and Phoenix.
The Yellow Alternative would serve East Valley communities and central Pinal County, and could share right of way with Union Pacific Railroad north of Eloy, where appropriate. The Orange Alternative would serve East Valley population centers and share part of its alignment with the planned North-South Freeway Corridor in Pinal County. The two alternatives would run primarily within the I-10 corridor between Eloy and Tucson.
Under the No-Build Alternative, no passenger rail system would be constructed between Tucson and Phoenix. The No-Build Alternative assumes that all proposed highway projects currently funded within the study corridor would be built to provide enhanced capacity for Interstate 10 and the surrounding region.
By the end of this study, a Final Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement will be published and one rail corridor or the No-Build Alternative will be selected. Additional future environmental work and site-specific studies would be required before a rail system could be constructed. There is currently no construction schedule and there is no funding identified for future rail studies or to build and maintain a rail system. It will be up to the public, stakeholders and policymakers to decide how the project should move forward and how to generate the funding to pay for it.
For more information about ADOT’s Passenger Rail Corridor Study, visit azdot.gov/passengerrail.