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Stanton urges Amtrak to deliver passenger service between Phoenix and Tucson

At a congressional hearing, Arizona Rep. Greg Stanton pressed the president of Amtrak on the company’s commitment to bringing passenger rail between Phoenix and Tucson.

Amtrak has proposed a service line connecting  Phoenix, Tucson, Tempe, Goodyear, Buckeye, Queen Creek, Marana and Coolidge.

At a hearing of the House transportation subcommittee on railroads, pipelines and hazardous materials, Stanton told Amtrak President Stephen Gardner that Arizonans have big expectations for passenger rail now that a  $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill has been signed into law.

That bill includes $66 billion in funding to help Amtrak address a repair backlog,  but also to expand passenger service to new cities and towns.

“The infrastructure plan by plan that was passed by this Congress invested in passenger rail and Amtrak’s CEO called the bill absolutely transformational,” Stanton said. “That means the American people, including those of us in Arizona, we rightfully have big expectations.”

Gardner said there are larger plans at work in western states that involve existing Union Pacific and Sunset Limited lines already in place between Phoenix and Tucson to fulfill Amtrak’s plans.

“We're all in on this project in terms of our excitement, enthusiasm, and really are ready to partner with the state of the communities to start that next phase of planning,” Gardner told the committee.

Ben Giles is a senior editor at KJZZ.