Alexa Avila and SuElen Rivera

Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2018

Phoenix City Council meeting set today to discuss light rail expansion plans

PHOENIX- The Phoenix City Council will have a special meeting Wednesday to discuss what the future of the South Phoenix light rail extension will look like.

The city council is expected to vote on keeping the plan as is-which would reduce Central Avenue to two lanes from four-or altering it, potentially leading to millions of federal funds being put at risk.

The subject of the light rail has recently become more contentious, as citizen groups have unveiled respective campaigns aimed at highlighting their reasons for supporting it or not.

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For some currently serving on the city council, the light rail extension is still a good way of adding another transportation resource to that specific area.

“South Phoenix deserves light rail, and it deserves a good plan,” said Phoenix Mayor Thelda Williams. “Light rail spurs economic activity and connects residents to more work and education opportunities. I hope the Council reaffirms its commitment to South Phoenix.”

In 2015, Arizona residents voted for Prop 104, an act which included funding for transit throughout the valley. That included the expansion of the light rail into the southside of Phoenix.

However, some business owners there want this plan to get derailed. They said the construction could hurt business down South Central Avenue, and worry about traffic flow issues.

Sam Stone, Chief of Staff for Councilman Sal DiCiccio who has staunchly opposed the extension, said they do not expect to see any major changes happening at Wednesday’s council meeting.

“Absolutely nothing. This is a dog and pony show. City council was very clear right from the start they were going with the two lane configuration.”

The 5.5 mile light rail extension would assist 28 percent of people in the South Phoenix area that depend on public transportation. Valley Metro plans to begin construction in 2019 and end in 2023.

Wednesday’s meeting is set to begin at 2:30 p.m.

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