Phoenix gets $100M grant for light rail extension that voters might kill

Jul 9, 2019, 6:56 PM | Updated: Jul 10, 2019, 10:15 am
(KTAR News Photo/Matt Bertram)...
(KTAR News Photo/Matt Bertram)
(KTAR News Photo/Matt Bertram)

PHOENIX — U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration announced a $100 million grant Tuesday for a Phoenix light rail extension, money that will go away if voters pull the plug on the project next month.

The 5.5-mile South Central Avenue extension from the existing downtown tracks to Baseline Road has become a contentious issue, with opponents calling it a waste of money and saying it will negatively impact the neighborhood.

In February, the City Council approved an initiative to put the project up for a vote, which will be held Aug. 27.

The city is responsible for under a quarter of the approximately $1 billion price tag, with its $220 million portion covered as part of a long-term transportation tax approved by voters in 2015.

Federal and regional funds are earmarked for the remainder the cost, but that money will be available only for the approved Central Avenue plan.

Light rail supporters, including Mayor Kate Gallego, say the project will spur economic development in the South Phoenix area.

“Today’s announcement is also an important reminder of the federal dollars that our city would lose out on should Proposition 105 pass in the city’s August election, effectively ending light rail in Phoenix,” Gallego said in statement Tuesday.

“Ensuring that federal dollars go to important projects such as the light rail expansion means that our city tax dollars can fund priorities such as public safety and additional road improvements.”

The approved plan for the nine-station extension would reduce Central Avenue from four lanes to two lanes, a major concern for those who want to see the project killed.

In April, project gained approval to move into its next phase, which made Valley Metro eligible to use up to $530 million from an FTA grant program.

Valley Metro, the Phoenix area’s public transportation agency, said that funding would let the agency continue with preconstruction activities and procurement.

Preconstruction work was scheduled to begin this summer, and construction on the line was expected to begin in spring 2020. The goal was to begin service in 2023.

Lifetime Windows & Doors

We want to hear from you.

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

Arizona News

Rod Stewart performs during The BRIT Awards 2020 at The O2 Arena on Feb. 18, 2020. in London. (Phot...

Rod Stewart delays Phoenix concert for more than a year

The Rod Stewart concert scheduled for next month at Phoenix’s Footprint Center is being pushed back more than a year because of unspecified "production delays.”
22 hours ago
(Facebook photo/Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)...

Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office SWAT team fatally shoots man who allegedly shot at them

The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office SWAT team on Wednesday fatally shot a man who allegedly shot at them, authorities said.
22 hours ago
(Flickr Photo/India Water Portal)...
Associated Press

Petitions submitted for new groundwater management district in southeastern Arizona

A proposal apparently headed to the November ballot would have voters in rural southeastern Arizona decide whether to create a new regulatory district to manage large-scale groundwater use for agriculture in an area where aquifer levels have dropped in recent years.
22 hours ago
(Phoenix Police Photo)...

Police seeking person of interest in Phoenix shooting that left man dead

Police are seeking a person of interest in a shooting in Phoenix last month that left a man dead.
22 hours ago
(Match Market & Bar Photo/Timothy Fox Photography)...

What’s cooking? Spring Arizona Restaurant Week starts 10-day run Friday

More than 100 restaurants have signed on to show off their menus during Arizona Restaurant Week, which kicks off Friday.
22 hours ago
(Photo by: Lindsey Nicholson/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)...
Danny Shapiro

Phoenix gas average eclipses $5 a gallon with more increases likely this summer, expert says

Phoenix has eclipsed an average of $5 for a gallon of gasoline and prices are likely to continue rising for a while, an industry expert said Wednesday.
22 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Canvas Annuity

The secret to guaranteed retirement income

Annuities aren’t really a secret, but they are so misunderstood that they might as well be. Once you understand what an annuity is and how it can benefit you, you could decide this “secret” is the perfect supplement to your retirement plan.
Dr. Richard Carmona

Have you gotten your booster shot?

Do you remember when you got your last COVID-19 vaccination? If it has been more than five months since you completed your primary vaccination series, it’s time for you to get your booster. You may be eligible even sooner depending which vaccine you received. If you are over the age of 50 and received your […]

Key dates for Arizona sports fans to look forward to in April

April brings new beginnings in different ways for Arizona’s professional sports teams like the Suns and Diamondbacks.
Phoenix gets $100M grant for light rail extension that voters might kill