My readers will remember an earlier blog entry after having visited Phoenix, Arizona some time ago. It concerned the light rail system in that city. I came away quite impressed with the operation. Valley Metro runs a tight ship and it shows. The light rail vehicles are clean, the air conditioning works, the automatic station announcements are clear and, most importantly, the service is reliable.
This morning came more good news from Phoenix. The US Federal Transit Authority (US FTA) has approved and has provided $75 million toward building the Central Mesa Extension. This line will go further into the City of Mesa, ending eventually at Mesa Drive.
Additional funding will come through the Federal Congestion Mitigation Fund and from the state and cities involved. Start up of the extension is envisaged to be in late 2015 or early 2016.
The light rail system opened in 2008 and it is estimated that this has spurred about $5 billion in economic decelopment along the line. Ridership on the existing segments continues to exceed projections and estimates. No word yet on whether or not new light rail vehicles are being ordered.