Phoenix voters turn down effort to kill light rail expansion (updated)

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Phoenix voters have rejected an effort to bar future spending on light rail.
MIke Schaller

PHOENIX — Voters have dealt a resounding defeat to an effort to kill expansion of the Phoenix light rail system.

In unofficial results as of 10 p.m. local time Tuesday night, 62.4 percent of those voting had cast ballots against Proposition 105, which would have prohibited “using any funds from any source for the construction, development, extension or expansion of, or improvement to, any light rail or fixed rail transit system.”

The ballot initiative had grown out of opposition to a planned extension to south Phoenix of the light rail, led by businesses concerned that a major street would be decreased from four lanes of traffic to two.

Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego hailed the result on Twitter, saying “This election was about what we want our city to be. Residents broke records when they showed up in mass and declared they want robust transportation options …. Light rail expansion is not stopping — not today, not tomorrow.”

In a statement, Paul P. Skoutelas, president and CEO of the American Public Transportation Association, called the result a “monumental day at the ballot box" for Phoenix.

“Congratulations to the forward-thinking residents of Phoenix, who voted to ensure that their light rail system can expand to better serve the transit needs of a rapidly growing city looking to the future," Skoutelas said. "Phoenix made it resoundingly clear to the naysayers that light rail is essential to their economy and their community. … APTA remains committed to fighting at the local, state and federal levels to improve and expand public transit options.”

— Updated at 8:45 a.m. on Aug. 28 with comment from APTA president and CEO Paul Skoutelas.


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