Phoenix gets $49.4M for northwest light rail extension

Above: The Valley Metro Light Rail traveling westbound in Downtown Phoenix. (Photo by Mike Mertes, AZ BIG Media) Business News | 26 Dec, 2020 |

Mayor Kate Gallego announced today that Phoenix has been allocated a $49.4 million grant to fund Phase II of the Northwest Light Rail Extension project. The city will also receive a second grant of $1 million to pay for planning on the same project.

Mayor Gallego said, “Light rail is essential to smart growth and smart development throughout the city. The grants will extend these advantages to commuters in northwest Phoenix. I’m deeply grateful to our federal partners for sharing our vision and for the funds that will bring it to life.”

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) advised the city last week of the allocation of $49.4 million in Capital Investment Grants (CIG). CIG is a discretionary grant program that funds transit capital investments including heavy rail, light rail, streetcars and bus rapid transit. The allocation marks another stage in the project’s advancement towards readiness to receive a construction grant agreement under the CIG program.

Arizona Senators Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly applauded $49.4 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation to help fund Valley Metro’s Northwest Light Rail Extension.

“Today’s funding announcement represents a critical next step in the Northwest Light Rail Extension,” said Sinema. “Investing in Arizona’s infrastructure creates jobs, expands transportation options, and grows Arizona’s economy. I’ll continue supporting infrastructure investment in our state and creating opportunities for all Arizonans.”

The Northwest Extension Phase II will add an extra 1.6-miles to the light rail line that currently ends at 19th Avenue and Dunlap. The extension will run west on Dunlap to 25th Avenue, then north to Mountain View Road. From there, an elevated structure will bring the rail over Interstate 17 to its final stop near Metrocenter Mall.

There was more good news earlier in December when the FTA also awarded Phoenix a $1 million Transit Oriented Development (TOD) planning grant, also for the Northwest Extension Phase II. These dollars will go toward creating an Active Transportation Implementation Plan and a TOD Policy Plan for the area. Among other things, this grant will help the city explore its vision for the area, including safety and access to cultural and regional assets, as well as assistance for populations that depend on public transit. This collaborative effort will engage multiple city departments and Valley Metro Rail.

The TOD grant from the FTA is the largest awarded to any of the nine agencies receiving grants this year. The grants announced today constitute the second allocation to the Northwest Extension Phase II, bringing the total to $100 million. On a related note, in early December, Phoenix also received a grant of $530 million from the FTA to begin construction on the Phoenix South Central/Downtown HUB light rail extension.

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