Valley Metro Rail’s Central MESA Extension Opens Ahead Of Schedule, Under Budget
Valley Metro Rail’s (VMR) first light rail extension has opened seven months ahead of schedule and on budget. Service began with an Opening Day celebration on August 22, 2015 and was applauded by riders, businesses and local leaders alike.
The new extension connects riders with downtown Mesa, along Main Street between Sycamore Drive and Mesa Drive. Four new light rail stations and a new 500 space park-and-ride at the northeast corner of Main Street and Mesa Drive offer convenient access to Mesa. An increase of approximately 5,000 daily riders is anticipated with the addition of the new Mesa extension.
Valley Metro and its contractor, Valley Transit Constructors, began construction of the Central Mesa light rail extension in summer 2012. During the project’s peak construction over 700 jobs were created yearly. Funding for the light rail extension was provided by a $75 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), as well as $71 million in countywide transportation tax funds and $53 million in federal air quality funds for the $199 million project.
The Burns Project Management Oversight (PMO) team, functioning as an extension to the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), provided technical assistance, project oversight, and risk management to help the project achieve success.
“Light rail has generated an $8.2 billion investment along the first 20 miles into Phoenix, Tempe and Mesa, and with this extension we know that investment is only going to grow,” said Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton. In the near future, additional service will extend farther into the East Valley, with two more miles of light rail to Gilbert Road, helping satisfy the growing demand for transit service in the area.