Eastside, westside and all around our communities Valley Metro rail construction projects are moving ahead.
Four rail projects are under construction. They include the South Central Extension/ Downtown Hub, the Northwest Extension Phase Two, the expansion of Valley Metro’s Operations and Maintenance Center in east Phoenix, and the streetcar in Tempe.
Each construction project has a multi-million dollar budget. Jennifer Pyne, Assistant Director for Capital Development for Valley Metro, said the South Central Extension/ Downtown Hub is one of the larger construction budgets with a budget of $1.3 billion. Much of the money is dedicated to moving utilities, which is described by Pyne as “complicated work.”
For every linear foot of trackway installed, six linear feet of utilities, including water, sewer or storm drains, will be removed, relocated, or upgraded.
Elsewhere, the Tempe Streetcar project has $200 million budgeted. The Northwest Extension Phase II has construction costs budgeted at $400 million. Much of that cost includes a new bridge over Interstate 17 and an elevated station at Metrocenter.
There is a blend of funding sources to pay for light rail construction. “All of our current rail projects under construction have a good dose of federal funding,” Pyne said. “Anywhere from 40 to 50-percent.”
Also, cities with light rail kick in funds for construction. Other funding sources include a regional sales tax throughout Maricopa County that supports light rail construction.
Pyne said Valley Metro is executing a voter-approved plan going back 20 years..
“What we’re building out now was approved by voters in 2004.,” Pyne added.
Two projects, the Tempe Streetcar and construction at the Operations and Maintenance Center, are expected to be complete this calendar year. “South Central Extension/Downtown Hub and the Northwest Extension Phase II are 2024,” Pyne said.
Pyne says that Valley Metro works very closely with its city partners. “We have a pretty robust community relations program,” that works with businesses impacted by light rail construction.
Businesses can contact (valleymetro.org/project) for more information.