Yesterday when the City of Phoenix and Valley Metro announced that they had received a grant from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) for the South Phoenix light rail extension, they did not disclose to taxpayers that the projected cost to build the line has nearly DOUBLED—from $700 million to $1.35 Billion dollars. At $245 Million per mile, the South Phoenix line is now one of the most expensive light rail extensions in the country.
“It is amazing that no one in City Hall or Valley Metro notified the public of these rampant cost overruns,” said Scot Mussi, President of the Arizona Free Enterprise Club. “The scariest part for taxpayers is that they haven’t even broke ground on the project, so the price tag will likely go even higher before they are finished.”
To pay for the ballooning cost of the extension, Phoenix taxpayers are on the hook for $540 million, up from $195 million in 2018. “Neither Phoenix or Valley Metro have explained how they are going to pay for this, or what happens when the cost goes even higher,” Mussi Continued. “Taxpayers have a right to know what roadway projects will be cancelled to fund this boondoggle.”
This isn’t the first time Valley Metro has been forced to revise the projected cost for the South Phoenix extension. In November of 2015, Valley Metro estimated the capitol cost for the project to be no more than $530 Million Dollars.
In August, Phoenix residents will have the opportunity to vote on Proposition 105, which would stop the expansion of the South Phoenix line and divert those funds to other needed roadway and transportation improvements. “With light rail costs spiraling out of control, voters would be wise to stop the bleeding before it is too late.” Mussi said.
The 2015 cost estimate for the South Phoenix project can be viewed HERE. The most recent cost estimate for the South Phoenix project can be viewed HERE.