We kick off a new series called "Central." We’ll be road tripping up Central Avenue, from South Mountain to North Mountain over the next few weeks.
Light rail extension in Mesa now official
Funding for the next extension of the Valley’s light rail system has been formally approved. Federal officials and several Valley mayors formally signed the agreement Friday afternoon. KJZZ’s Al Macias says the feds will now provide $75 million for the additional three miles.
AL MACIAS: The east end of the rail line currently stops west of downtown Mesa. The next extension will take it to Mesa Drive. Transportation secretary Ray LaHood said the Valley’s light rail system serves as good example of what happens when communities and political leaders work together,
RAY LAHOOD: Good policy makes good politics. And when people come together not under a political umbrella but under a good policy umbrella and do what’s right for the people, it’s always a winner.
AL MACIAS: Mesa Mayor Scott Smith said the light rail not only provides transportation options but is also an economic driver. He cited the new downtown Mesa campus of Benedictine University.
SCOTT SMITH: One of the number one factors in their decision to come here and set up shop was light rail. So we have, we have real, real evidence of what happens. They would not be here without light rail.
MACIAS: The federal money will go to the total $200 million cost of the three-mile extension which is scheduled for completion in late 2015.
Updated 10-15-12 1:22p.m.
Editor's note: This story was modified to reflect the correct name of Benedictine University.