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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Passenger Rail Study and Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement: Tucson to Phoenix

Environmental Impact Statement

The Passenger Rail Study between Tucson and Phoenix explores intercity rail connections between the two largest metropolitan areas in Arizona. Arizona will use this Study to analyze and develop future intercity rail options. The proposed passenger rail line will be designed as a blended service: An express service would have few stops between Tucson and Phoenix, and a local service would stop at several communities along the way. Phoenix is the only metropolitan area with over a million people in the United States that is not served by passenger rail.

Currently, there is no construction schedule and no funding identified for a project to build an intercity rail system between Phoenix and Tucson. It will be up to the public and policymakers to decide if such an effort is feasible and how to generate funding to pay for implementation of the Study.

Final Tier 1 EIS and Record of Decision (ROD)

FRA prepared the Final EIS/ROD in accordance with the Council on Environmental Quality’s (CEQ) regulations for implementing the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) (40 CFR parts 1500–1508) and FRA’s Procedures for Considering Environmental Impacts (64 Federal Register [FR] 28545, May 26, 1999).

On December 19, 2016, the Final EIS for the Arizona Passenger Rail Corridor Study (APRCS) was approved by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT). The Final EIS evaluates potential alternatives for a passenger rail system between Tucson and Phoenix, AZ, and discusses the potential impacts to socioeconomic conditions, environmental justice, public health and safety, parklands, Section 4(f) and Section 6(f) resources, air quality, noise and vibration, hazardous materials, geology and topography, biological resources, water resources, energy use and climate change, visual and scenic resources, and cultural resources.

In the ROD, FRA approved the Yellow Corridor Alternative for further review in Tier 2 studies. The Yellow Corridor alternative follows existing ADOT or Union Pacific Railroad (UP) right-of-way (ROW), including the UP Phoenix Subdivision’s Southeast Branch. A passenger rail facility within the selected corridor alternative will meet the identified transportation need of providing an alternative mode to help meet existing and future travel demand in the Pima, Pinal, and Maricopa tri-county area.

Within the preferred alternative, optional routings will be considered in Tier 2 studies as potential solutions to address stakeholder input based on a high-level viability assessment. A routing option through Tempe using a portion of the Orange Corridor Alternative could be used to avoid or minimize the potential use of Section 4(f) resources and/or potential adverse effects to historic properties. An optional routing in Pinal County will utilize a portion of what was the Orange Corridor Alternative should an alignment along existing UP ROW or elsewhere within the 1-mile-wide corridor alternative not be feasible.

Notice of issuance of the Final EIS and execution of the ROD was published in the Federal Register on January 6, 2017 by the Environmental Protection Agency.

The notice can be found at:

Final Tier 1 EIS and ROD

Arizona Passenger Rail Corridor Study Final Tier 1 EIS


Draft Tier 1 EIS

Notice of Intent was published in the Federal Register on October 6, 2011 to initiate the environmental impact statement process for the Study.

The Draft Tier 1 EIS for the APRCS was released in mid-2015. The document analyzed the natural, built, and social environment that may be affected by alternative actions being considered and identifies the potential environmental effects of each so they can be compared to one another and to the effects of taking no action (the No Build Alternative).

The information, analysis, and comparison of effects evaluated for two corridor alternatives, in addition to a No Build Alternative, were examined in a through process prescribed by CEQ in compliance with NEPA. This information as well as input received from the public is intended to aid government agencies in making decisions about public expenditures and infrastructure investment.

Draft Environmental Impact Statement

More Information

Please visit the Study website for updated information at:

Document Availability

Burton Barr Branch
Phoenix Public Library

1221 North Central Ave. 
Phoenix, AZ 85004

Central Arizona College
Signal Peak Campus Library

8470 North Overfield Road 
Coolidge, AZ 85128

Pima Community College
Northwest Campus Library

7600 North Shannon Road 
Tucson, AZ 85709

ADOT Research Library
206 South 17th Ave. 
Phoenix, AZ 85007

Downtown Branch
Chandler Public Library

22 South Delaware Street 
Chandler, AZ 85225 

Southeast Regional
Library – Gilbert

775 North Greenfield Road 
Gilbert, AZ 85234

Permitting Dashboard

The U.S. Permitting Dashboard is an online tool for Federal agencies, project sponsors, and interested members of the public to track the Federal government’s environmental review and authorization processes for large or complex infrastructure projects. The Dashboard is part of a government-wide effort to improve coordination, transparency, and accountability. A link to this project’s page on the Dashboard is below.