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7/15/2011



Rail News: Passenger Rail

Phoenix light-rail extension gains environmental clearance from FTA


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Phoenix’s Valley Metro recently received a “finding of no significant impact” from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) for the 3.1-mile Central Mesa light-rail extension. The finding indicates that the implementation of the project would cause no significant environmental effects, Valley Metro officials said in a prepared statement.

The Central Mesa extension would run along Main Street from the current end-of-line in Sycamore, Ariz., through downtown Mesa to Mesa Drive. Currently in the design phase, the project will include four stations and a park-and-ride lot. Utility relocation is expected to begin in summer 2012 and the line is slated to launch operations in 2016.

The FTA approval follows a submittal of the project’s environmental assessment, which is required to analyze the extension’s environmental effects and enable the project to continue competing for federal grant dollars.
 
The FTA finding “allows us to initiate other key areas of work, including utility relocation and real estate acquisition discussions,” said Valley Metro Chief Executive Officer Steve Banta.

Valley Metro opened its initial 20-mile light-rail line in December 2008. The agency is pursuing plans for six extensions that would create a 57-mile system by 2031.


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