The Arizona state Legislature has established a committee that will soon begin studying the feasibility of creating a regional railroad transportation system.

The Arizona Rail Passenger Association has proposed a 430-mile rail system that includes 42 passenger stations in Maricopa, Pima, Pinal, Santa Cruz, and Yuma counties. The system would serve major cities such as Phoenix and Tucson.

The rail association said in a report to state legislators that the system could be developed by making improvements to existing railroad infrastructure. Costs are estimated at about $500 million. Recently approved legislation, HB 2280, establishes a committee to study rail transportation in the state. The committee has until Dec. 31, 1993, to present its report to legislators.

Maricopa County voters three years ago rejected an ambitious rapid-transit plan for the region in and around Phoenix. Proponents of the five-county rail system argue that it would be much cheaper to develop than the defeated plan, would be less expensive than freeway construction, and would help limit air pollution.

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