Wednesday, November 27, 2013

FTA clears Valley Metro LRT extension

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Phoenix's Valley Metro has received the Finding of No Significant Impact (or FONSI) from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) for Valley Metro's 1.9-mile Gilbert Road light rail transit extension.

The project will extend LRT beyond the Central Mesa extension on Main St. to Gilbert Rd. in Mesa, Ariz., east of downtown Phoenix, by 2018. It consists of two stations and a park-and-ride on the southwest corner of Main St. and Gilbert Road.

"The Gilbert Road extension was made possible through creative financing and a vision that connects light rail to a main thoroughfare with easy access to both the Superstition and Red Mountain freeways," said Mesa Mayor Scott Smith. "We are happy to hear that Valley Metro has received approval from the FTA and we are excited to see the project moving forward."

Phoenix's suburban neighbors in general have been supportive of LRT expansion, with Scottsdale, Ariz., a conspicuous exception. Tempe, Ariz., hopes to install a 2.6-mile streetcar, interfacing with Valley Metro LRT.