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Can’t stop, won’t stop: Phoenix-area light rail expansion far from over

(Sharon Mittelman)

PHOENIX — The northwest Phoenix extension of the light rail is complete and ready to roll, but this latest expansion of the transportation service is far from the last.

On Saturday, a 3-mile extension with three new stations will open along 19th Avenue, and at least a half-dozen more extensions are planned over the next two decades.

The Phoenix-area Valley Metro light rail began with 20 miles of track more than seven years ago. Phoenix City Councilman Daniel Valenzuela said the goal is to triple those miles in 18 years.

“We can expect light rail getting out to Metro Center, at some point Paradise Valley Mall, south Phoenix, throughout West Phoenix and several other places,” he said, adding the new lines will broaden the scope of the light rail.

“Because of Proposition 104 — which just passed a few months ago here in Phoenix — we are going to triple the light rail miles.” Valenzuela said.

Phoenix officials hope to reach 66 miles of light rail track by 2034. Valenzuela said the economic return from the light rail system is well worth the investment.

Service on the northwest extension along 19th Avenue starts at 10 a.m. Saturday morning.

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