The hundreds of millions of dollars the cities of Phoenix, Tempe, and Mesa fronted for the federal portion of the Light Rail Transit Project will soon be almost completely repaid, thanks to a $90 million reimbursement from the federal government.
The $587.2 million bill paid by Valley taxpayers went toward a variety of light-rail costs, including 36 new light-rail vehicles, 27 passenger stations, and seven new parking lots. Of the $90 million federal reimbursement, Phoenix will receive $65 million, with $18 million going to Tempe and $7 million to Mesa. Once the $90 million is doled out, the federal government will still owe $97 million to Valley cities for advanced light-rail funds.
Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon praises the federal government as a great light-rail partner, and says, "Phoenix is looking forward to partnering with the Federal Transit Administration on future light-rail extensions."
Hey, no kidding. What government official's not happy with the Feds when a big check arrives.
Tom Simplot, vice Mayor and chair of Valley Metro Rail, also praised the Federal Transit Administration, naturally. And despite a decline in rail ridership in May, and the fact that light-rail ridership is at its lowest point yet, Simplot says that "ridership has exceeded projections by more than 30 percent, showing both the federal government and our community that light rail is a success."
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.