Phoenix votes to approve long-range light-rail extending transportation plan

Written by Jenifer Nunez, assistant editor
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Phoenix voters approved Transportation 2050, a transportation plan which as developed by a citizen-led committee of transportation experts and community advocates and expands investment in light-rail construction by building an additional 42 miles of light rail throughout the city.

The plan will be funded in part by a 7/10ths of a cent sales tax starting on Jan. 1, 2016.

“Phoenix is expected to double in population over the next 30 years and managing that growth responsibly required the city – and the voters – to make some important and far-reaching decisions,” said Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton.

With approval of the plan, Phoenix residents have continued local support of transit service that has been in place since 2000. That year, voters adopted Transit 2000, a transit plan that helped to build the Valley’s current light-rail line, introduce RAPID commuter service and expand the local bus network.

“Transit 2000 was a far-sighted investment in Phoenix’s future and what we needed to move Phoenix forward,” said Councilwoman Thelda Williams, chair of the city’s Transportation & Infrastructure Subcommittee. “With the passage of the new voter-approved plan, we continue looking ahead, working to improve our streets, invest in the kind of bike infrastructure families and their children can enjoy and spur economic growth along new light-rail corridors.”

Connections to educational institutions are a key element of Transportation 2050. Light-rail corridors will provide service to Grand Canyon University and ASU West, linking ASU and U of A campuses in downtown Phoenix on the Valley’s current 20-mile light- rail line.

The Phoenix City Council will consider next steps for the plan at its Sept. 8 Policy Session, including the formation of a citizens transportation commission to oversee implementation of the plan and how funds will be spent.