superbad wrote:i believe there is a proposal for commuter rail between pheonix and tuscon. I do not know where is stands as of now though.
It's been talked about, but that's all it's been, "talk." The Arizona Rail Passenger Association's website may have more info:
I live in Tempe, and there had been discussion about constructing a southern extension toward the Chandler/Tempe city line. However, this proposal has run into snags. The ideal routing would be down Rural Rd. Unfortunately, Rural Rd. crosses UP's former Southern Pacific "Phoenix Main" at grade. The UP has made it clear that it won't allow light rail to cross its tracks at grade. That leaves either McClintock Drive (1 mile east of Rural) or Mill Ave. (~3/4 mile west of Rural) as the routing as both roads cross under the railroad tracks. Neither is ideal. Lately, the city of Tempe has been favoring a routing on Mill Ave. BUT...
They've been proposing either a "Bus Rapid Transit" or a "Streetcar" line. The streetcar line would function like traditional trolley/streetcars where the vehicles would travel in lane with automobile traffic. Both the BRT and streetcar proposal would require riders to transfer to the light rail line in downtown Tempe.
I will say, with no reservations, that I'm thoroughly against the streetcar proposal. For starters, the streetcar vehicles would not be the same as the light rail. They offer zero advantages over traditional bus routes. Instead, they will cost more to build and maintain: Tracks, overhead wires, and vehicles. If the streetcar's were permitted to run on the light rail line and on into Phoenix, I'd be more amenable to the proposal. As it stands, it's a poor use of taxpayer money that's being proposed.