Valley Metro Rail’s first light rail extension began service on Saturday, connecting riders with downtown Mesa, Ariz.
Valley Metro and City of Mesa hosted station celebrations at the four new stations located on Main Street at Alma School Road, Country Club Drive, Center Street and Mesa Drive. Residents across the Valley came out to also enjoy live music, food, activities to discovering the new destinations that are now just a train ride away.
Seven months ahead of schedule and on budget, the additional 3.1-miles of service on Main Street between Sycamore Drive and Mesa Drive was greeted with big cheers from riders, business owners and local leaders.
Four new light rail stations and a new 500-space park-and-ride at the northeast corner of Main Street and Mesa Drive provide convenience to explore Mesa and discover new dining, entertainment and shopping. The stations are becoming landmarks of their own, each with beautiful art reflecting Mesa’s rich culture and history. The station artists incorporated the unique qualities of the area surrounding each station and the theme Old Roots New Growth.
Valley Metro and its contractor, Valley Transit Constructors, began construction of the Central Mesa light rail extension in summer 2012. More than 700 jobs were generated annually during the project’s peak construction. Funding of the extension was provided by a $75 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration, as well as $71 million in countywide transportation tax funds and $53 million in federal air quality funds.
"Light rail has generated an $8.2 billion investment along the first 20 miles into Phoenix, Tempe and Mesa, and with this extension we know that investment is only going to grow,” said Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton. “With Mesa’s new extension and the opening of the Northwest extension next March, more residents have greater access to jobs, education, medical appointments, shopping and entertainment.”
Valley Metro Rail will continue to expand in the East Valley with two additional miles of service to Gilbert Road. Opening is anticipated in 2018.