Here is what I just posted on another forum. I am reposting it here 'cause it kinda touches on what you're saying. Regarding your comments on Congress, that is kinda what NARP has been saying for years.
"I think what you might be getting at here and, if so, I’d agree with wholeheartedly, is that moving the main Sunset Limited (SL) Phoenix stop to the remote location of Maricopa may have been more psychologically damaging than anything else.
Amtrak’s own statistics seem to show that ridership on the SL dipped after the change was made although I have not been able to secure the exact statistics.
The greater Phoenix area was, behind L.A. and Houston, probably the biggest market on the whole route. I should also add that before the SL got booted off the Phoenix sub, it stopped at BOTH Phoenix and Tempe. Tempe, especially, was a nice place to wait for a train and convenient to the uppity bedroom communities of Scottsdale, Tempe & Mesa.
It was kind of a sad tale that the community fought a long, hard, valiant battle to get an Amtrak stop and I believe even raised local funds to rehab the SPT Co’s old depot there. Amtrak really dragged their feet on this. Timetables for several years indicated that service to Tempe would begin on a date “to be announced”.
Tempe’s efforts finally paid off (or, so they thought at the time). Tempe was established as a stop but then was only used for a few years until the SL had to vacate the Phoenix sub altogether.
When the West Phoenix line finally gets reopened (and I’m hopeful it will) don’t expect Amtrak to jump back on there right away. Many of the things Amtrak does seem to move at a snail’s pace – if at all.
In fact, I’ll go out on a limb here: I suspect that getting Amtrak back on the Phoenix sub could well turn out to be more difficult and problematic than getting the Arlington-Roll segment rehabbed and reopened. Yeah, that’s right! I hope I’m wrong but……."