"Roads? Where we're going we don't need roads."
The South Central line is one of the most promising additions to the Phoenix light-rail system (WBIYB). City Council has approved a plan to fast-track the five-mile extension to Baseline Road by 2023. But a crucial piece of the project isn't on the table, and as far as I know nobody is discussing it.
This line needs a slight rerouting: It needs to jog over the Third Avenue on Washington, then run south to Lincoln Street before moving back to Central for the journey south. This would provide two big benefits, one immediate and the other long term.
By shifting west, it would pick up large numbers of riders at the government centers of the city and county. But the big enchilada is that the line would pass just to the east of Union Station, which was Phoenix's intercity passenger rail depot until the 1990s.
Light rail might need a tunnel under the current Union Pacific line, but it would be worth it. The payoff would be connecting light rail with a reborn Union Station as the hub for a region-wide commuter train system as well as the return of Amtrak to Tucson and Los Angeles.
If Phoenix fails to do this, it will be a blunder to be regretted for decades to come.