Voters Could End Approved Light Rail Projects in Phoenix

The future of light rail in Phoenix is in voters' hands.

Read Time: 1 minute

April 16, 2019, 8:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Valley Metro

Tom Roche / Shutterstock

"A group of light-rail opponents dubbed Building a Better Phoenix collected enough signatures to force light rail back on the ballot," reports Jessica Boehm. "Proponents of light rail tried tried [sic] to get the initiative kicked off the ballot in a legal challenge this week, but were unsuccessful." 

"If passed, the Building a Better Phoenix Initiative would halt all light-rail spending and cancel all light-rail projects approved by voters in 2015," explains Boehm, including the South Central extension, the Capitol/I-10 West extension, Phase II of the Northwest extension, the ASU West extension, the West Phoenix/Camelback extension, and the Northeast extension.

Any future rail spending, on Amtrak or of commuter rail, would also be forbidden by the initiative.

"The funding for the planned light-rail extensions comes from three sources," explains Boehm: "countywide transportation tax revenue, federal grants and revenue from a city sales tax increase voters approved in 2015."

"If the initiative passes, the city's sales tax revenue will divert to other transportation projects, including sidewalk improvements, road repairs and new bus systems. The Phoenix Citizens Transportation Commission will recommend how the money should be spent."

The qualification of the referendum for citywide election is just the latest setback for public transit politics in Phoenix, coming just a few weeks after the Phoenix City Council voted to rescind funding for the West Phoenix/Camelback extension. 

Monday, April 15, 2019 in Arizona Central

Chicago Commute

The Right to Mobility

As we consider how to decarbonize transportation, preserving mobility, especially for lower- and middle-income people, must be a priority.

January 26, 2023 - Angie Schmitt

Green bike lane with flexible delineators and textures paint in Hoboken, New Jersey

America’s Best New Bike Lanes

PeopleForBikes highlights some of the most exciting new bike infrastructure projects completed in 2022.

January 31, 2023 - PeopleforBikes

Sharrow bike markings on black asphalt two-lane road with snowy trees

Early Sharrow Booster: ‘I Was Wrong’

The lane marking was meant to raise awareness and instill shared respect among drivers and cyclists. But their inefficiency has led supporters to denounce sharrows, pushing instead for more robust bike infrastructure that truly protects riders.

January 26, 2023 - Streetsblog USA

A tent covered in blue and black tarps sits on a downtown Los Angeles sidewalk with the white ziggurat-topped L.A. City Hall looming in the background

L.A. County Towns Clash Over Homelessness Policies

Local governments often come to different conclusions about how to address homelessness within their respective borders, but varying approaches only exacerbate the problem.

February 3 - Shelterforce Magazine

Rendering of mixed-use development with parks and stormwater retention on former Houston landfill site

A Mixed-Use Vision for Houston Landfill Site

A local nonprofit is urging the city to consider adding mixed-use development to the site, which city officials plan to turn into a stormwater detention facility.

February 3 - Urban Edge

Aerial view of downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin at sunset

Milwaukee County Makes Substantial Progress on Homelessness

In 2022, the county’s point-in-time count of unhoused people reflected just 18 individuals, the lowest in the country.

February 3 - Urban Milwaukee