Arizona Sun Corridor

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This article is about the Arizona megaregion. For the similarly named metropolitan area, see Valley of the Sun.
Arizona Sun Corridor
Megaregion of the U.S.
Phoenix
Tucson Mesa
Clock-wise from Top: Downtown Phoenix skyline, Downtown Tucson, Mesa City Hall
Coordinates: 33°N 112°W / 33°N 112°W / 33; -112Coordinates: 33°N 112°W / 33°N 112°W / 33; -112
Country USA
State Arizona
Population (2010)
 • Total 5,517,131
 • Rank 10th
 • 2025 Projection 7,764,211
 • 2050 Projection 12,319,771
  [1]

The Arizona Sun Corridor, shortened Sun Corridor, is a megaregion, or megapolitan area, in the southern area of the U.S. state of Arizona. The Sun Corridor is equivalent to Indiana in both size and population. It is one of the fastest growing conurbations in the country and is speculated to double its population by 2040.[2] The largest metropolitan areas are the Phoenix metropolitan area - Valley of the Sun - and the Tucson metropolitan area. The regions' populace is nestled in the valley of a desert environment.[2] Similar to Southern California, the urban area extends into Mexico, reaching the communities of Nogales and Agua Prieta.[2]

Its population is composed of a total of four metropolitan areas: Phoenix, Tucson, Prescott and Nogales. Out of these, two are metropolitan areas with over 1,000,000 residents: the Phoenix metropolitan area with 4,192,887 residents and the Tucson metropolitan area with 1,020,200 residents. The Arizona Sun Corridor is made up of all of Maricopa, Pinal and Pima counties, along with parts of Yavapai, Santa Cruz and Cochise counties.[3] It is home to over 86 percent of Arizona's population.

The Megaregion has an area an population that is about the same as the state of Indiana (About 5.6 million people), and it is expected to grow to nearly 7.8 million by 2025. By 2050, it is projected to grow to more than twice its original size (12.3 million, about 118% growth and 6.66 million additional people). It comprises about 2% of the population of the entire United States, and it makes up about the same proportion of the total GDP, with an output of $191,036,000,000 in 2005.

Most of the Arizona Sun Corridor is in the Sonoran Desert; to the south of the region is the border between the United States and Mexico, and to the east is the Arizona transition zone and the Mountains of Arizona. The Southern California Megaregion is to west and is the nearest other Megaregion to the Arizona Sun Corridor.

Extent[edit]

The Arizona Sun Corridor lies in the American Southwest.

The Arizona Sun Corridor lies in the American Southwest, about halfway between the Southern California and Front Range Megaregions. It is shown on the map in deep blue.

Transportation[edit]

Road[edit]

Intercity in the region is provided by the I-8, I-10, I-17, and I-19 freeways, as well as US 60, SR 87, and SR 77, among other surface highways.

Phoenix area arterials are set up in a grid pattern, which helps simplify transportation within the region. Tucson's streets have a similar system.

Rail[edit]

Amtrak's Sunset Limited operates three times a week, connecting Maricopa, Arizona and Tucson. There is no other intercity rail in the region; however a high-speed rail corridor is also being studied between Phoenix and Tucson.[4]

Intracity rail systems include the METRO Light Rail, which operates within the Phoenix metropolitan area, connecting Uptown and Downtown Phoenix with Tempe and Mesa, and Tucson's Sun Link streetcar system, which links Downtown Tucson and the Mercado district to the University of Arizona.

Air[edit]

Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and Tucson International Airport provide air transportation to the region, from both within the country and from a few foreign countries, among other smaller airports, which focus on regional air traffic from nearby. Recently, Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport, previously being a military base, has also become an option for low-cost carriers to fly into the Phoenix area as well.

US Airways, now owned by Fort Worth company American Airlines, was once headquarted and based in Tempe, which is in the Phoenix Valley. However, American Airlines maintains a strong presence in the state due to the history with US Airways.

References[edit]