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PHOENIX, AZ — The 3.1-mile light rail extension into downtown Mesa is recommended to receive an additional $20 million in federal fiscal year 2013 according to the President’s budget released yesterday. METRO has already received $35.5 million in federal fiscal year 2012 that is allowing the project to move ahead into utility relocation this spring.
“This project is positively progressing through the federal funding pipeline,” said METRO CEO Steve Banta. “This is no small accomplishment considering the economy and it indicates that we have a very strong project in Mesa. We appreciate the continued support of our partners at the FTA.”
METRO is requesting a total of $75 million from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) for Central Mesa; this second installment would provide the project with nearly three-fourths of its federal funding. METRO expects to have its full funding grant commitment with the FTA’s signing of a Project Construction Grant Agreement (PCGA) this summer.
“We are excited the administration’s federal budget recommendation includes light rail. We are hopeful Congress will also recognize the importance of the light rail project,” said Mesa Mayor Scott Smith. “The extension of light rail is not only a smart investment in improving our transportation system, but is also a key component in generating economic development in our city.”
The 3.1-mile, $200 million Central Mesa light rail extension will travel through downtown Mesa to Mesa Drive by late 2015/early 2016. More than half of the project’s total funding has already been programmed using Proposition 400 and federal air quality dollars. METRO will break ground in late spring with the first phase of construction, utility relocation. The Design-Build team, who will execute construction and continue to advance the design, is likely to be named with our Board of Directors meeting in March.
For more information on the Central Mesa extension, visit www.metrolightrail.org/centralmesa. For information from FTA on its proposed FFY2013 funding priorities, visit http://www.fta.dot.gov/12304_14365.html.
METRO is responsible for the development and operation of the region’s high-capacity transit system. The first 20-mile light rail line opened December 2008 and served 13.2 million riders in 2011, exceeding the prior year by four percent. METRO serves an average of 40,000 riders per weekday. It is also planning for six extensions that will create a 57-mile system by 2031.