The ribbon cutting ceremony prior to the first ride of Valley Metro’s Northwest Phase II extension, included (L to R) Family of former Mayor & Councilmember Thelda Williams; Phoenix Light Rail Administrator Markus Coleman; Phoenix Vice Mayor Jon Edwards; Fountain Hills Vice Mayor Peggy McMahon; Phoenix Councilmember Ann O’Brien; Valley Metro CEO Jessica Mefford-Miller; Maricopa County Supervisor Bill Gates; Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego; Phoenix Deputy City Manager Mario Paniagua; FTA Administrator Nuria Fernandez; U.S. Congressman Greg Stanton; Former Glendale Councilmember Gary Sherwood; Phoenix Councilmember Kesha Hodge Washington; Maricopa Association of Governments Managing Executive Director Ed Zuercher; Phoenix Vice Mayor Debra Stark; Arizona Poet Laureate Alberto Rios; and former Mesa Mayor and former Valley Metro CEO Scott Smith.  -  Photo: Valley Metro

The ribbon cutting ceremony prior to the first ride of Valley Metro’s Northwest Phase II extension, included (L to R) Family of former Mayor & Councilmember Thelda Williams; Phoenix Light Rail Administrator Markus Coleman; Phoenix Vice Mayor Jon Edwards; Fountain Hills Vice Mayor Peggy McMahon; Phoenix Councilmember Ann O’Brien; Valley Metro CEO Jessica Mefford-Miller; Maricopa County Supervisor Bill Gates; Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego; Phoenix Deputy City Manager Mario Paniagua; FTA Administrator Nuria Fernandez; U.S. Congressman Greg Stanton; Former Glendale Councilmember Gary Sherwood; Phoenix Councilmember Kesha Hodge Washington; Maricopa Association of Governments Managing Executive Director Ed Zuercher; Phoenix Vice Mayor Debra Stark; Arizona Poet Laureate Alberto Rios; and former Mesa Mayor and former Valley Metro CEO Scott Smith.

Photo: Valley Metro

More than 2,000 people, including federal, state, and local leaders, gathered to celebrate the opening of Valley Metro’s Northwest Phase II extension of light rail in Phoenix.

The project includes a series of “firsts” for Valley Metro and the community, including the first elevated station, rail-only bridge over I-17, and a multimodal transit center named after regional transit champion, former Phoenix Mayor, and Councilmember Thelda Williams.

“I am proud to be back in Phoenix, less than three years after signing the grant that funded this important extension that will make such a difference in the lives of people in this region,” said FTA Administrator Nuria Fernandez. “This was the first project funded by FTA under President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the city and Valley Metro have done incredible work building it on budget and delivering the project earlier than expected. Congratulations to all.”

The Northwest Phase II Extension

The project received $158 million from the nationally competitive Capital Investment Grant program through the FTA. The City of Phoenix T2050 funds provided $213 million and regional transportation funds from Proposition 400 provided the final $30 million.

Construction began in 2020, creating 3,000 direct jobs in the Phoenix community and more than 6,000 indirect jobs across the country.

The new extension includes three stations and is anticipated to initially attract 1,400 new, daily riders to the system each day. Crossing the I-17, the project gives greater transit access to the West Valley, connecting current and future riders with opportunities in central Phoenix, Tempe, and Mesa.

Features of the New Extension

Featured along the new extension, there are nine different art elements created by seven artists reflecting the character and history of the local community. Art is incorporated into the new stations, parking garage and the Thelda Williams Transit Center.

The four-story parking garage has solar panels to support the facility's infrastructure and the transit center is served by five bus routes and, in the future, potentially bus rapid transit.

“We have made the leap over one of our busiest and most vital freeways with a bridge that opens the door to the West Valley,” said Valley Metro CEO Jessica Mefford-Miller. “Congratulations to the Valley Metro team, our contractors, and our neighbors, working in lockstep with the city of Phoenix, to deliver a project ahead of schedule and on budget that beautifies and enriches our community, as depicted by Alberto Rios’ Light Rail Hummingbird.”

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