News Ticker

Glendale Council Backs Light-Rail Route

Credit: Valley Metro

By Jeff Grant for Daily News-Sun

The City Council, in a 4-3 vote, has endorsed a plan to extend Valley Metro’s light-rail network into downtown Glendale via a five-mile route supporters say will draw economic development while detractors say it ignores less-disruptive options to mainly small businesses and other entities in that area.

The proposal, backed May 24 before a three-quarters full council chamber that included speakers on both sides of the issue, still requires passage from the Phoenix City Council and, later, the boards of both Valley Metro and the Maricopa Association of Governments, according to Valley Metro interim CEO Scott Smith.

Construction would not begin until early 2023, and the line would not open until mid-2026.

The preferred path would take a double-track configuration into Glendale at Camelback Road; proceed north along 43rd Avenue, west on Glendale Avenue, and then quickly jogging north to Glenn Drive via either 51st or 52nd avenues. There would be five stations.

The city and Valley Metro will study the feasibility of taking the line to an end point just west of Grand Avenue near 58th and West Palmaire avenues, according to Megan Casey, community outreach coordinator for Valley Metro.

While a final cost figure has not been arrived at, earlier estimates were at least $900M.

Valley Metro and the city are relying on several non-general-revenue sources to pay for the project, including Federal Transit Administration funds they must compete with other transportation projects around the United States for, noted Smith.

The remaining funds would come from regional and local sources. Another 10-15 percent would be supported through Maricopa County’s regional transportation fund, which is fed by a half cent county sales tax enacted in 2004. The other 35-40 percent would be paid through Phoenix’s ongoing tax dedicated to transportation and from revenues off Glendale’s GO Transportation tax, a half-cent fee approved by city voters in 2001.

Each city would split costs for the section along 43rd Avenue while paying entirely for portions within their boundaries. That works out to 4 miles in Phoenix and 3 miles in Glendale.

The Glendale light rail route was the final choice from a list that at one time had included several possibilities, but ultimately was judged to be the most cost-effective and the one that would draw the highest number of riders.

There also has been mention of at some point extending the line to Westgate and the University of Phoenix Stadium area, though that is not being considered at this point.


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