For years city politicians, developers and contractors have misled voters on the waste and damage created by the multi-billion-dollar expansion of light rail. They have concealed the true cost of light rail from voters in previous transportation measures by tying light rail to street improvements and other popular transit projects, hoping that the facts would not be exposed until it is too late.
Currently 40% of Phoenix’s transportation tax revenue is dedicated to light rail, even though only 1% of Phoenix residents regularly use the system. And despite billions being spent on promoting and expanding light rail, ridership is in rapid decline. Last year alone 800,000 fewer people used light rail, and there will be fewer riders using the system this year.
The City’s own transportation department has determined that over 70% of Phoenix roads are in substandard condition and will require billions to repair. This street maintenance deficit can be paid for with the dollars freed up by ending the expansion of light rail.
The billions saved by stopping the expansion of light rail could be used to fix city streets and sidewalks, expand bus and dial-a-ride service, improve lighting and get Phoenix’s transportation system on the right path.
There are much better alternatives than light rail, yet Phoenix leaders seem determined to throw more money at a boondoggle that is costly, inefficient, and drains the city’s transportation budget. Phoenix taxpayers deserve better than this.