Leaders past, present, and future gathered to kickoff Valley Metro Rail’s 10-year anniversary, also known as the “Railversary.” Valley Metro CEO Scott Smith welcomed a prestigious slate of speakers, including rail city mayors, who shared the transformation that has occurred in their cities over the past 10 years.
“Since light rail opened, we’ve transformed from a quiet downtown into a bustling hot spot for innovation, education, and business,” said Phoenix Mayor and Valley Metro Rail Board Chair Thelda Williams.
Former Phoenix mayor and early light rail champion, Skip Rimsza, gave credit to city and business partners for making the original 20-mile system a reality.
Along with public sector support, investment from developers helped boost the transformation of communities near light rail. According to the Quality of Life impact report, there has been $11 billion of investment and 35,000 jobs created within one-half mile of the 26-mile corridor. The report also focuses on how light rail contributes to fostering community health and connecting communities.
“Light rail gives families the freedom of transportation mobility without all the costs of owning one or even two cars,” said Diana Yazzie Devine, president and CEO of Native American Connections. “That means families have greater housing stability with more disposable income for taking care of their family’s basic needs and enjoying a better quality of life.”