Metro Phoenix leaders promised light rail would transform the Valley when it opened Dec. 27, 2008. A decade later, future expansion could be at risk.
By Jessica Boehm | Arizona Republic
Ten years ago, on an unusually frosty Phoenix morning, the Valley’s most important dignitaries unveiled one of the most expensive and controversial taxpayer-funded projects in Arizona history.
Silver train cars dotted 20 miles of light-rail tracks across Phoenix, Tempe and Mesa — an unnatural sight in a sprawling, car-dependent, Western metro area like Phoenix.
Valley Metro Rail, with a $1.4 billion initial price tag, would change everything about the Valley, its supporters promised the thousands who waited hours to ride the rail on opening day.
It undoubtedly has changed transportation options and the course of development — though not everyone supports the transformation.
Valley Metro CEO Scott Smith offered an ominous warning at a ceremony earlier this month to mark light rail’s first decade.
“There are dark clouds on the horizon,” he said.