With work winding down on orange line stations, the trolley renewal project will move to blue line stations in April and run through 2014. The project will rebuild trolley stations and transit centers from downtown to the border. The project will also renovate the trolley station platforms, improving bus facilities and ease of transferring between bus and trolley services.
The overhead electrical wire for the blue line has already been replaced and work is underway to add crossover tracks to enhance operational flexibility.
The trolley renewal project is funded by a combination of local TransNet sales tax, state bonds and federal dollars.
Community Joins Together to Celebrate Northwest Phoenix Light Rail Extension
Work on the northwest Phoenix light rail extension has begun with leaders and community members there holding an official groundbreaking Jan. 12.
“Light rail has been a success in the valley and it just shows how our residents desire more mass transit, especially in our urban centers,” U.S. Rep. Ed Pastor, (D-Ariz.), said. “It’s exciting to see the light rail extensions branch into different communities because it’s convenient, safe and affordable, and they will continue to address environmental and pollution concerns.”
The 3.2 mile extension between 19th Avenue from Montebello to Dunlap Avenue, which is slated for completion by early 2016 is another step in the development of a regional transportation network in the valley. Expansion of light rail is also underway in Central Mesa with completion set for 2015.
Six light rail extensions are under way in the region that will create a 57 mile system by 2032.
“The northwest extension is a critical addition to our regional transit system,” Valley Metro CEO Steve Banta said. “Through regional collaboration we have advanced the project by seven years and we will continue our partnership with the community to expedite construction.”
Phoenix city officials outlined the benefits of the extension, including economic growth, closer access to I-17 and nearby employment centers. They also highlighted the business assistance programs being offered to businesses impacted by construction.
“This project is about keeping a promise to revitalize and redevelop this community,” Phoenix Councilmember Daniel Valenzuela said. “We will continue to support businesses in the area with financial assistance and marketing. We are all in this together. Their success is our success.”
Retiring AASHTO Executive Director Calls for Investment and Tax Reform to Ensure Highway Trust Fund Solvency
Congress needs to take action this year to sustain the federal-aid surface transportation program, said John Horsley, executive director of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.
Horsley, who retires Feb. 1 after 14 years leading the national association, made his remarks during his keynote address at the Transportation Research Board's annual Chairman's Luncheon Wednesday at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C.
Horsley called on Congress to enact additional economic stimulus through transportation investment and to reform taxes that support the nation's highway and transit programs.
Horsley said Congress should pass legislation authorizing a $50 billion transportation regional infrastructure project (TRIP) bond program. Under the bill co-sponsored by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) every state would receive $1 billion over six years to be invested in transportation. The U.S. Treasury investment would be paid through U.S. customs fees and no debt would be incurred by the states.
"This program would create thousands of jobs, stimulate economic recovery, and improve mobility in every state," Horsley said.
Horsley also told the TRB luncheon audience that Congress should convert the "cents per gallon" federal excise tax on fuels to a sales tax on fuels. He said such a move could avert a looming transportation fiscal cliff. Forecasts show that the federal Highway Trust Fund could become insolvent by October 2014, which would cut annual federal highway investment from $41 billion to $6 billion and annual transit investment from $11 billion to $3 billion.