Sep 19, 2022 - News

South Phoenix light rail extension is halfway complete, set to open in 2024

An aerial view of construction on a roadway.
South Central/downtown hub construction. Photo: Courtesy of Valley Metro

Construction of the South Central light rail extension and new downtown hub is halfway complete and on track to open in 2024.

Why it matters: This is arguably Valley Metro's most important project since the light rail system started operating in 2008.

  • It will create a second line, 5.5 miles of new rail and a central transit hub in the heart of downtown.

Catch up quick: Phoenix and Valley Metro have planned to bring light rail to south Phoenix since voters first approved transit funding in 2000, but the project was pushed back when tax revenue fell below expectations.

  • Phoenix voters passed an increased transportation tax in 2015, which allowed the city to move forward with the extension.
  • The south Phoenix community was split over the project when the council gave it final approval in 2018, with some residents and business owners concerned that the light rail would decrease vehicle access on Central Avenue.
  • Opponents attempted to kill all future light rail projects with a ballot initiative in 2019, but voters overwhelmingly rejected it.

By the numbers: More than 1.5 million construction hours have been spent on the project so far.

  • Crews have installed 68,000 feet of new water line and 5,000 feet of track.
  • More than 1,100 workers were hired for the project.
  • The city and Valley Metro have provided 64 local businesses with $508,000 in grants to help them weather construction.

Show me the money: The extension and hub are expected to cost $1.3 billion, which comes from city and regional transportation taxes and federal grants.

What they're saying: "This extension promotes equitable and inclusive communities and is an example of how Phoenix Public Transit and Valley Metro can ensure racial justice and economic inclusion through our programs and investments," Mayor Kate Gallego said.

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