By Eric Jay Toll for Phoenix Business Journal
Extending light rail isn’t about congestion relief, said state officials at the Arizona Forward “Who’s Driving Transportation” session Feb. 26. It’s about economic development.
The cities against which the Valley competes for quality jobs have light rail and other transportation options. The millennials don’t want to own cars. They want to work downtown, walk or commute on rail, and the hip knowledge-based industries looking for locations are looking to light rail.
San Francisco, Seattle and Austin are grabbing these companies and the businesses are locating within walking distance of light rail stations.
Commercial real estate brokers in Arizona are touting proximity to Metro stations in promotional brochures.
Phoenix Community and Economic Development Director Christine Mackay said that businesses looking for sites are looking first along the light rail line. “I’ve got a lot of interest in the Central Corridor and Gateway areas,” she told me. “We’re very underdeveloped along portions of light rail.”
Change comes hard, but one change needed in Phoenix is a boost in the economy — more quality jobs, more manufacturing jobs and more workers getting to work.
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