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On Saturday, July 12, the Northwest Phoenix community, along with national and local officials, celebrated the significant construction progress on the 3.2-mile Northwest Phoenix light rail extension. The First Track Celebration, on 19th Avenue, commemorated a significant milestone as the project nears the halfway point.
“The Valley’s light rail system is one of the most successful in the country, ranking at the top in ridership,” said U.S. Congressman Ed Pastor. “We’re not going to stop here. We’re going to continue to build a regional transit system that will serve our growing community.”
Joining Pastor on Saturday were Phoenix officials including Mayor Greg Stanton, Councilmember Daniel Valenzuela, Councilmember Kate Gallego and Valley Metro Rail Board Vice Chair, Councilmember Thelda Williams. They also offered remarks prior to the placement of the First Track plaque in the guideway.
“This is an important milestone for Phoenix residents,” said Stanton. “It is projects like this that create jobs in the community. This is how you help grow the economy – by building the city of Phoenix through infrastructure.”
Valenzuela, who represents the Phoenix district where the light rail extension travels, served as host of the ceremony. According to Valenzuela, “The Northwest Extension will bring approximately 5,000 new riders to light rail every day. It’s about making life’s appointments. People in this community need access to transportation to get to doctor’s visits, to school and to work.”
Local residents and businesses enjoyed Saturday’s celebration, which featured a “state fair” midway with games, food, construction equipment and entertainment. Guests watched as elected officials placed the ceremonial plaque in the area where the first track was laid. Everyone in attendance also received a commemorative milestone magnet, the second of five in a series.
The Northwest Phoenix light rail extension will extend light rail from Montebello to Dunlap avenues and is expected to open in 2016.
Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton assists with placement of the first track.
Families enjoying crafts and games in the state-fair themed midway.
Plaque ceremony (from left to right): Phoenix City Manager Ed Zuercher, Phoenix Councilmember Kate Gallego, Phoenix Councilmember Thelda Williams, Phoenix Councilmember Daniel Valenzuela (front), U.S. Congressman Ed Pastor, Sundt President Dave Crawford, Valley Metro CEO Steve Banta
About Valley Metro: Valley Metro provides eco-friendly public transit options to residents of greater Phoenix and Maricopa County including the planning and operations of a regional bus system and the development and operations of light rail. In Fiscal Year 2013, total ridership for the system was 73.4 million passengers, which set a new record for bus and light rail boardings. The first 20 miles of light rail opened December 2008. Seven light rail extensions are planned or are under construction that will create a 60-mile system by 2034. Valley Metro also offers transit options including alternative transportation programs for seniors and people with disabilities, commuter vanpools, online carpool matching, bus trip mapping, bicycle safety and telework assistance. Two Boards of Directors set the policy direction for the agency with the intent of advancing the regional public transit system. Get the latest news by following us on Facebook and Twitter or visiting valleymetro.org.