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Court OKs Mesa Light Rail Extension

Light rail construction in downtown Mesa. Photo credit: Michael Schennum/The Republic

By Maria Polletta for The Arizona Republic

After more than a year of legal challenges that reached Arizona’s highest court, Mesa has the final go-ahead to implement a creative financing plan that would eventually take light rail to Gilbert Road.

Joe Price, an outspoken critic of light rail along Mesa’s Main Street, sued to halt the extension. He argued Mesa should be focusing on improving existing roadways, building freeways and enhancing bus service instead of expanding light rail, contending the funding plan for the $162M extension required a public vote.

Maricopa County Superior Court Judge David Udall found no such requirement when he heard Price’s case last spring, and an appeals court also sided against Price, according to City Attorney Debbie Spinner. Now, the Arizona Supreme Court has [ruled in the case].

“The litigation is done,” Spinner told the City Council at a recent study session. “We should (have) no further impediments with regard to the project.”

To fund the Gilbert Road extension, Mesa will issue bonds to be repaid from grants previously earmarked for road projects. The Legislature authorized those bonds, called transit-project advancement notes, in 2012.

Read more at The Arizona Republic