Phoenix votes to continue with 2-lane plan for South Central light rail

Sep 26, 2018, 5:56 PM | Updated: Sep 27, 2018, 11:53 am

PHOENIX – The Phoenix City Council voted 6-2 on Wednesday to move ahead with the two-lane plan for the controversial light rail extension on South Central Avenue.

In June, the council had directed Valley Metro to conduct a study about an option that would leave four lanes of traffic along Central in South Phoenix between Jefferson Street and Baseline Road.

The vote was held during a special meeting and was preceded by around 2½ hours of public comments.

Early in the meeting, Valley Metro CEO Scott Smith said pursuing the four-lane option could doom the project.

An additional 12-18 months would be needed for the environmental impact process, Smith said, which would cause the project to miss a federal funding deadline.

“If we are removed from the federal list, then this project is on life support. … It would be extremely detrimental to miss those deadlines,” Smith said.

Councilman Michael Nowakowski said he supported two lanes because of concerns about losing federal funding.

Vice Mayor Jim Waring spoke strongly against the extension but acknowledged that he didn’t think there was any way to stop the two-lane plan.

“I thought it was a zero percent chance that it would change,” he said.

Waring was joined by Sal DiCiccio in his opposition.

Most of the public commenters spoke either for or against the voter-approved project in general without expressing an opinion about the lane issue.

Those against the extension cited concerns that included safety, traffic flow and the restriction of access to businesses in the area.

Supporters say light rail will spur economic growth and provide a much-needed transportation option for the underserved area.

Longtime South Phoenix resident Perry Elam drew applause when he pointed out that the issue of whether to build the extension should already have been settled.

“Our community voted for the light rail,” he said. “Now we’re here today to talk about disavowing the vote of the people. The voice of the people. The most cherished part of our freedom.”

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

(Facebook Photo/Phoenix Police Department, file)...

Police identify teen boy who died after shooting in central Phoenix

A teenage boy who was shot and later died in central Phoenix on Saturday afternoon has been identified, according to Phoenix Police. 

4 hours ago

Solar panels...

Damon Allred

Gila River Indian Community to receive solar panels over canals

The Biden-Harris Administration will give $5.65 million to construct and install solar panels over the Casa Blanca Canal.

7 hours ago

Artist rendering of the upcoming Taco Viva restaurant in Phoenix. (Aline Architecture)...

Brandon Brown/Phoenix Business Journal

Real estate investor to open drive-thru Taco Viva restaurant in Phoenix

Taco Viva, a new restaurant founded by the managing director of a Scottsdale real estate investment firm, is set to open in early 2024.

8 hours ago

(Facebook Photo)...

Associated Press

Pilot killed in small plane crash near Eloy Municipal Airport

A pilot has been killed in a small plane crash in a vacant lot near Eloy Municipal Airport, about halfway between Phoenix and Tucson, police said.

18 hours ago

Firebird Motorsports Park....

Chandler racing complex renamed Firebird Motorsports Park

Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Chandler has a new name -- Firebird Motorsports Park.

20 hours ago

Pamela Andrews...

Silver Alert canceled after 68-year-old woman located

The Mesa Police Department canceled a Silver Alert on Saturday after locating Pamela Andrew, the Arizona Department of Safety says.

20 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Follow @KTAR923...

Valley residents should be mindful of plumbing ahead of holidays

With Halloween in the rear-view and more holidays coming up, Day & Night recommends that Valley residents prepare accordingly.

Follow @KTAR923...

The 2023 Diamondbacks are a good example to count on the underdog

The Arizona Diamondbacks made the World Series as a surprise. That they made the playoffs at all, got past the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Wild Card round, swept the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS and won two road games in Philadelphia to close out a full seven-game NLCS went against every expectation. Now, […]


Midwestern University

Midwestern University: innovating Arizona health care education

Midwestern University’s Glendale Campus near Loop 101 and 59th Avenue is an established leader in health care education and one of Arizona’s largest and most valuable health care resources.

Phoenix votes to continue with 2-lane plan for South Central light rail