By Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton
Modern transportation infrastructure is critical to preparing for our future: Phoenix’s population is expected to nearly double over the next 30 years – and our future will be shaped by how well we plan for that growth.
Great transportation infrastructure has many choices – freeways, well-kept roads, bike lanes and a robust public transit system.
Residents are choosing public transportation more today than at any time in our region’s history. Nearly a quarter-million people take the bus or light rail every day, and that number continues to increase.
It’s time to prepare for our future and grow that system even more. That’s why I’m asking voters to approve a plan this August that will triple the light rail system, expand bus routes and operations and Dial-a-Ride operations, repair the city’s aging streets, and build the new roads that we will need.
Our plan is ambitious, but for less than a penny more on a $3 cup of coffee, we can put Phoenix’s transportation future on the right track.
We’ve seen that public transportation such as buses and light rail are valuable to all of us – even those who don’t use it regularly. It keeps cars off the road, prevents traffic gridlock, and lifts our economy: Every dollar that we invest in public transit creates $7 in economic returns.
The success of our light rail system shows that transit inspires the right kind of development and fosters smarter growth. We’re now seeing new life and activity in older buildings, and developments we never thought possible are being built because of light rail. It’s supporting Phoenix businesses and entrepreneurs.
Our transportation plan is also designed to grow our economy by connecting employment and education centers. Right now, more than one in five light rail riders is a student – and many of them rely on transit to get to class. With our new plan, for the first time we can connect community colleges, ASU West, Grand Canyon University and other schools to ASU Downtown, the Phoenix Biomedical Campus and ASU Tempe.
Transit is doing much more. It’s helping those who can’t afford a car get to work. It’s empowering seniors who can no longer drive and individuals with disabilities lead independent lives. For many, public transit is the key to earning a living or a high quality of life.
Light rail hasn’t been part of our city for long, but it’s already transformed our community for the better.
We can’t afford to wait. Let’s plan wisely, continue our investment, to create the transportation system we need to prepare for the future.