WASHINGTON, D.C.—Rep. Greg Stanton spoke in support of Amtrak’s application to use approximately $716 million in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding for various projects around the country—including bringing long-distance passenger rail service back to Phoenix for the first time since 1996.

“Phoenix is the largest city in the United States without access to passenger rail service,” Stanton said at a House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hearing Tuesday on Amtrak operations. “As other communities have gained access to passenger rail, they’ve experienced significant new economic opportunities. But Arizona has missed out.”

Stanton said returning passenger service to Phoenix would provide “opportunity to connect our communities, make them more accessible and productive, and more internationally competitive. Opportunity to boost our regional economies with better access to jobs and more private investment along the route. Opportunity to ease congestion along Interstate 10 and help reduce air pollution.”

In response to Stanton’s questioning, Amtrak’s Chief Executive Officer Stephen Gardner noted the “very strong local, bipartisan support for bringing service back” to Phoenix, and said it is “frankly an embarrassment that we don’t serve such a major, prominent city.”

Amtrak’s applications were submitted Monday through two Federal Railroad Administration programs funded under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, including the Federal-State Partnership for Intercity Passenger Rail Program funding opportunity for projects outside the Northeast Corridor and the Corridor Identification and Development Program (Corridor ID Program).

Stanton also noted that the Arizona Department of Transportation has submitted a proposal to the Corridor ID program to advance the project, and has provided $3.5 million in state funds for the planning effort.

Video of Stanton’s questioning is available HERE.