Tucson-Phoenix rail system getting more consideration

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- The talk of a passenger rail system from Tucson to Phoenix has been going on for several years.

The reality of the rail picked up a little steam Friday as the state transportation board vote on a plan.

It was clear that the passenger rail is a popular subject for people who showed up for Friday's hearing in Sahuarita.

As speaker, after speaker talked about the importance of having a rail system, the state transportation board listened and voted to approve the first-ever statewide plan for passenger and freight rail transportation in Arizona.

"It's a key first step to getting federal funding and building passenger rail lines in Arizona," said Serena Unrein of Arizona PIRG.

As part of that first step, ADOT is conducting a study on the system that would run from the Old Pueblo to the Valley of the Sun.

"That is looking at the feasibility of the rail between Phoenix and Tucson.  And is likely to be a 3 year study," said Jennifer Toth from the Arizona Department of Transportation.

If the plan turns out to be feasible that's when things could start moving full speed ahead.

But don't expect to hear the all abroad call for the train leaving Phoenix headed for Tucson anytime soon.

"Yeah its definitely a few years off.  Hopefully we will be coming soon and hopefully we won't have to spend all of our time stuck in traffic on the I-10 for too much longer," said Unrein.

The Arizona Department of Transportation will now send the plan to the Federal Rail Administration for their approval.