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PHX May Extend $30B Tax for Light Rail

Photo credit: Valley Metro

By Mike Sunnucks for Phoenix Business Journal

The Phoenix City Council could soon forward a $30.5B, 34-year sales tax measure to voters to fund Valley Metro Light Rail extensions and other transportation projects.

The council could consider at its March 3 meeting putting on the August ballot a measure for a 0.73-cent city sales tax. The proposal extends a voter approved 0.40-cent sales tax from 2000 that financed the light rail system.

That existing sales tax runs out in 2020 but would be extended and expanded until 2050 under the new plan.

It would fund possible extensions of light rail to the Arizona Capitol, south Phoenix, Grand Canyon University, Arizona State University West and Paradise Valley Mall, said Marty Shultz, co-chair of the Citizens Commission on the Future of Phoenix Transportation, which came up with the sales tax plan. Shultz is a long-time business and transportation funding advocate.

“This is less than a penny. In fact it’s less than a three-quarters of a penny,” said Shultz, a senior adviser with the law firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck.

Part of the transit plan allows the city to move $16M in transport money to another fund that will hire more police officers. Shultz said some of the sales tax proceeds from the $30 billion measure will also be used for street improvements.

Read more at Phoenix Business Journal