Hundreds gathered to help cheer on the kick-off of construction for the Northwest Phoenix light rail extension
. Residents and local business owners interacted with Valley Metro and elected officials to learn more about the project and what it means for the community.
“Light rail has been a success in the Valley and it just shows how our residents desire more mass transit, especially in our urban centers,” said U.S. Rep. Ed Pastor (D-AZ). “It's exciting to see the light rail extensions branch into different communities because it's convenient, safe and affordable, and they will continue to address environmental and pollution concerns.”
The 3.2 mile extension is another significant step in the development of a regional transportation network in the Valley. Expansion of light rail is also under way in Central Mesa and is expected to be complete in 2015.
“The Northwest Extension is a critical addition to our regional transit system,” said Valley Metro CEO Steve Banta. “Through regional collaboration, we have advanced the project by seven years and we will continue our partnership with the community to expedite construction.”
Officials from the city of Phoenix outlined the benefits of the extension, including economic growth and closer access to I-17 and nearby employment centers. They also highlighted the business assistance programs being offered to businesses impacted by construction.
Residents can also help support local businesses by joining "Metro Max Rewards," a discount program that offers exclusive savings for shopping local.
The Northwest Extension will extend light rail northbound on 19th Avenue from Montebello to Dunlap Avenue and is expected to open in late 2015/early 2016. It will serve more than 5,000 new riders every day, helping to stimulate economic activity along the future line.
The project will create more than 600 jobs over the next few years.