Approval given for West Valley METRO light rail extension

PHOENIX - Approval was given on Wednesday for an 11-mile light rail extension from downtown Phoenix to the West Valley.

METRO received regional approval from the Maricopa Association of Governments on the route and transit mode for the extension that will come from downtown Phoenix, through the State Capitol area, to approximately 79th Avenue and the Interstate 10 freeway.

According to a Wednesday news release, this is METRO's first freeway corridor project, giving the growing West Valley a more efficient transit option by 2023.

"This project is an opportunity to extend the multi-modal Total Transit Network to the West Valley," said Valley Metro CEO Steve Banta.  "It will help ease congestion on the busy Interstate 10 freeway and provide swift connectivity to jobs, schools, activity centers and entertainment options across the Valley."

METRO and the City of Phoenix initiated a study in 2007 to identify potential high capacity transit improvements for the West Valley.

"It will also offer West Phoenix residents a cost-effective, sustainable transportation option and creates an economic bridge to our city's westside," said Phoenix Councilman Michael Nowakowski who represents this district.

Today's MAG approval will allow the project to enter the environmental assessment phase, where early design work can also begin.

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