Remember what it was like to rely on Phoenix public transit last century?

Not in the early part of the last hundred years, but as recent as the 1990s. Phoenix had limited bus service and no service after midnight or Sundays. It was not the best system for a rapidly growing city.

At that time, the city created The Transit 2000 Plan. The plan focused on expanding bus service, building the light rail and creating public transit infrastructure. The plan was designed to create a new public transit system for the sixth largest U.S. city.

Public outreach was significant. There were numerous public meetings on the plan and surveys on the plan were sent to Phoenix households. The plan, and its funding source, four-tenths of a cent sales tax was overwhelmingly approved by the voters in March 2000. The tax would expire in 2020.

The successes of the plan are evident. Light rail is more popular than predicted and bus service has been expanded. However, what the city did not count on in 2000 when projecting the revenue from the tax, was two economic crises, the Sept. 11, 2011, downturn and the Great Recession of 2008. The money generated is less than projected. Consequently, many projects in the plan, such as light rail expansion, remain unfinished. More importantly, the funding source expires in 2020. In effect, all that has been achieved could shut down.
The city remains committed to public transit and is not going to wait until the money runs out to address the situation. Phoenix is also facing a funding shortage with respect to traditional road and freeway transportation.

Combining transit and transportation, the city created the “Citizens Committee on the Future of Phoenix Transportation,” a group of 30-plus individuals with diverse interests and expertise, who are assessing the current transit/transportation status and the looming expiration of the funding source.

The committee is thoroughly reviewing all aspects of Phoenix transit/ transportation and will report to the mayor and city council before the end of the year.