By Rebekah Morris for Arizona Builder’s Exchange
Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) held a mid-phase transportation funding public meeting April 27. Presentations included Transportation Improvement Project Listings and updates, as well as a presentation on operations, such as bus service, Dial-a-Ride, and vanpool options funded by MAG.
Light Rail Segments Accelerate
As reported in January (AZBEX, Jan 29, 2016, Print Edition Only), three segments of light rail projects are moving ahead of schedule due to City of Phoenix voters passing the sales tax initiative, T2050, in August 2015. One new station at 50th Street and Washington has been added to the plan.
Accelerated segments include:
- Northwest Phase II, 1.7 miles in Phoenix – new opening date of 2023 (three year acceleration from previously planned 2026 open date)
- South Central Corridor, 5-mile section in Phoenix – new opening date of 2023 (11-year acceleration from previously planned 2034 open date)
- Capitol/I-10 West Phase II, Phoenix (17th Avenue/Jefferson to 79th Avenue/Interstate 10). This project has been segmented into two phases: Phase I, a 1.4-mile segment running from Central/Jefferson to 17th Avenue maintains the planned opening date of 2023. The second phase, a 9.6-mile segment from 17th Avenue to 79th Avenue is being deferred; the new opening date is 2030.
- 50th Street and Washington Street Station is a newly added project slated to open in 2019. The CMAR and Design team are currently being selected. The Design Solicitation #16017-50STDES, was issued 3/18/16 and closed 4/25/16. The CMAR Solicitation #16019-50CMAR was issued 4/6/16 and is due 5/27/16.
The Tempe streetcar is moving ahead, but has been slowed down by MAG to better align with availability of federal funds. Earlier this year (AZBEX, Feb. 12, 2016), the Tempe Streetcar scored a huge win by having $75M in federal funds allocated in the President’s budget.
Other Planned Light Rail Segments Remain on Schedule
Other planned extensions of light rail remain on schedule. These include the 1.9-mile Gilbert Road extension in Central Mesa, planned to open in 2018 and a 5.0-mile segment extending into Central Glendale. Recently there has been much discussion about where that segment will terminate.
There is a line item for some form of high capacity transit solution extending into Northeast Phoenix as well, but the technology and route have not yet been studied. That is a much longer-range project, with an opening date planned for 2034.