Ballot Initiative Could Erase Phoenix Light Rail Extension Plans

Anti-light rail activists gathered enough signatures to qualify a controversial measure on the August ballot.
February 7, 2019, 11am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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"This August, Phoenix residents will have another opportunity to vote on the future of light rail," reports Jessica Boehm.

Key emphasis on "another" chance. "A group of light rail opponents called Building a Better Phoenix collected enough signatures to send the controversial public transit system back to the voters, asking them to end light-rail expansion in Phoenix and instead divert the city money to other transportation improvements, like buses and road repairs," according to Boehm.

As detailed in a recent opinion piece by J. Doug Pruitt, Phoenix voters have a track record of supporting transit planning and funding. This time, however, a vote would reverse the decisions of a $31.5 billion, 35-year transportation plan, funded by a sales tax increase approved by voters in 2015.

"If voters pass the Building a Better Phoenix initiative, the city must cancel all light-rail extensions and divert the city money it would have used to other transportation needs," according to Boehm. The transportation plan allocates about 35 percent of the funding for light rail expansions.

In the meantime, Valley Metro will continuing preparing for South Central light rail extension construction, scheduled to launch this year and open to the public in 2023.

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Published on Wednesday, February 6, 2019 in Arizona Republic
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