From the CAHSR Blog
Take: It was not that long ago that DesertXpress officials were crowing about how they were going to build the route without any federal money. Two and a half years later, they are singing a different tune. Unlike the skeptics, I have never had any problem with the train terminating in Victorville because I've been under the impression that the train would be extended to Los Angeles via Palmdale since DX officials have always cited environmental concerns. Rather, I am upset that the company has been unable to keep its pledge to fund the service entirely because the request falls into the hands of HSR opponents who do nothing but yell "boondoggle."
State examines a rail alternative to the I-10
Take: Arizona is a state that gets it--population growth that shows no sign of slowing down requires alternatives to widening interstate highways when gas will be even costlier in the years to come. As one of the things discussed in the state's rail plan, reestablishing direct Tucson-Phoenix route should be the first line of business. The report talks about the lack of ticket machines and decent amenities at the stations along the Southwest Chief's route. The solution is simple to me: Hire special employees to work at certain stations assuming that Amtrak operates an intrastate Arizona system. These workers would sell tickets for anyone using intrastate trains but anyone traveling via the Chief or the Sunset would have to use the Quik-Trak machines.
On high speed rail, it can be planned but I'd let the various private companies currently planning routes handle most of the work.