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ADOT Still Seeking Comment On Phoenix-Tucson Train Line

Spokesperson Laura Douglas in front of ADOT's booth at First Avenue and Washington.
(Photo by Nick Blumberg - KJZZ)
Spokesperson Laura Douglas in front of ADOT's booth at First Avenue and Washington.

The Arizona Department of Transportation hit the street Thursday to learn what the public thinks about commuter rail between Phoenix and Tucson.

ADOT's Laura Douglas stood near a booth as people on their lunch break stream past.

"We're at CityScape today, right in the middle of Downtown Phoenix," Douglas said. She and two colleagues went out to get public comments on three proposed routes for a passenger rail line between Arizona's two most populous cities.

"The idea is to not only build a new corridor for passenger rail, but how do we connect people once they get there, meaning hooking them up with the light rail here in Phoenix [or] the streetcar in Tucson," Douglas said.

One of the people who came to offer his opinion was Rudy Domenzain.

"I've lived in Phoenix for 85 years, and I'm going to be 90 next year," Domenzain said.

He said taking the train to Tucson would beat driving, and thinks rail travel hasn't gotten enough love for a long time.

"Phoenix has grown from when I was kid, we had 60,000 people, to almost two million here. I'm sure that the railroad is needed and I'm sure that it would be used quite a bit."

"I, and my neighbors, and my family, we would definitely ride it," said Liz Hourican of Phoenix. "It would make our life a bit easier, and I think it would decrease pollution, too."

Hourican prefers the route that stays off Native American land."I hope they do it quickly, and we need a lot of public pressure."

The public comment period runs through the end of the month. The next step is an environmental impact study. As of yet, there's no timeline for construction, and no funding source, which is important, because the projected cost is between $3 billion and $10 billion.

Nick Blumberg was a senior field correspondent at KJZZ from 2010 to 2014.