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Valley Metro receives $75 million FTA grant for light-rail extension


On Friday, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood attended a grant-signing ceremony that provided the city of Mesa, Ariz., a $75 million Federal Transit Administration (FTA) grant to build a 3.1-mile extension of Valley Metro's light-rail system between Phoenix and Tempe, Ariz.

The new Central Mesa Extension, to be operated by Valley Metro Rail, will connect residents in the downtowns of Phoenix, Mesa and Tempe. The project is expected to help spur new residential and commercial development in downtown Mesa, as well as provide transportation access to Arizona State University and Sky Harbor International Airport, U.S. Department of Transportation officials said in a prepared statement.

"By investing in this light-rail project, we are helping thousands of workers, seniors, students and others in Maricopa County connect with jobs, medical care and all the services this region has to offer," LaHood said.

Federal funding for the project includes $75 million through the FTA's Capital Investment (New Starts/Small Starts) program and $53 million in federal congestion mitigation funds. The project's remaining costs of $199 million will be covered by state and local sources.

During the past six months, Valley Metro has posted a 6.2 percent increase in ridership compared with the same period in 2011.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 10/15/2012