Light Rail Line Could Come To South Phoenix

October 11, 2013

South Phoenix is getting some transportation attention: Valley Metro has plans for a light rail line in the area. It’s holding two public hearings next week on the proposal.

Spokeswoman Susan Tierney said the line would connect to the existing one at Jefferson, and then head south on Central, to about Baseline. She said planners are looking at up to eight stations.

"There has been significant community input, there’s been working groups, we’ve met with many, many different groups in the South Central Phoenix area, and they have selected light rail as the transit mode of choice for this alignment," she said.

Tierney said before construction can start, the Phoenix City Council has to sign off on the plan, and that could happen in December. The Valley Metro Board of Directors and the Maricopa Association of Governments’ Regional Council also have to give their OKs, which could happen sometime in the spring.

And planners have to identify where the money to pay for the line will come from. Tierney said the alignment is an important one as far as density is concerned.

"It’s a proven transit route. We have a very popular and well-ridden bus route currently that operates on Central, as well as a rapid commuter service," she said.

Community activist Norma Muñoz has lived in South Phoenix for more than 40 years. Sitting at her kitchen table, she says there have been a lot of attempts to renew her community over the years But she thinks light rail could succeed where the others have not.

"I think the economic opportunities are huge," Muñoz said.

Valley Metro will hold public hearings on the South Central light rail proposal next Tuesday and Thursday nights.

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