Phoenix Prop. 105 to Cancel Light Rail Extension

Jul 31, 2019 by

In my travels through various states, I have been quite amazed at the wide variations of home prices, property taxes, regulations, and homelessness. The more liberal a state or city tends to be, the higher the taxes to pay for programs that supposedly help the poor. Unfortunately, instead, the taxes have priced the poor out of the housing market – sometimes to the point that they cannot afford to rent even a small efficiency apartment or a single room in someone’s house. Some live in their cars, or, if they cannot afford cars, on the street. In San Francisco and New York City, this has led to homeless people defecating in the streets and/or the ocean.

This is not as much a problem in Phoenix – at least not yet – because some of our elected officials are fiscally responsible. However, sometimes the big-spending ones offer us something so enticing that we consent – without considering the consequences – such as happened in 2015 when the Phoenix voters approved extending the city’s light rail on Central Avenue to south Phoenix at a cost of $135 million.

The original light rail became functional in 2008 at a cost of $1.4 billion for construction and an additional $184 for operation over five years. Since then, there have been two expansions, adding hundreds of millions of dollars to the original high price tag.

Crime has increased in the neighborhoods near light rail stops. According to District 2 Councilman Jim Waring, “The crime statistics show police calls at those stops have increased from 120 in 2014 to 225 in 2016.” Waring added, “I heard from so many people, ‘This is ruining my life, this is ruining my business.’ Now the proof is in the pudding….”

On August 27, Phoenix citizens will be voting on Proposition 105, a citizens’ initiative that would cancel the 2015 approval of the Central Avenue extension. They will have the opportunity to stop the continuation of what they feel has turned into a boondoggle.

About 3,000 residents and business owners in south Phoenix have signed a petition expressing they do not want the light rail extension, especially because it would narrow Central Avenue from four lanes to two. This would slow down emergency vehicles on their main throughway and cause congestion. Also, as happened with the original light rail, many longtime businesses located on each side of the tracks would likely fail.

According to the slick advertising against Prop 105, people should not worry about the cost because the federal government has granted billions of dollars for this and additional light rail extensions, some to other Arizona cities! Really? Is this the same federal government that has a $22.5 trillion debt and climbing? Are we supposed to believe that money from the federal government is free?

One way or the other, the people of Phoenix would have to pay for a slow-moving light rail they neither needed nor could afford. It would put them one step closer to what we see happening in California cities and elsewhere.

Phoenix, vote “Yes” in favor of Proposition 105.

Source: Phoenix Prop. 105 to Cancel Light Rail Extension – Western Free Press

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

1 Comment

  1. Avatar
    Ing. Rudolf Kolaja, P.E., T.E., PTOE

    What an excellent and very realistic assessment of the Proposition 105 by you, Mrs. Haver. The following is my article published on the LinkedIn and other websites, as well as many transportation officials.

    Proposition 105

    The proposition 105 is the outcome of the gross failure of the governmental
    transportation agencies, primarily the ADOT, Phoenix Valley Metro,
    Maricopa DOT, MAG, at all of the city transportation departments to deliver
    a comprehensive and effective transportation system for this Valley.

    Yes, the citizens of this Valley approved all of the necessary funding for the
    comprehensive transportation, not knowing about the completely wrong
    design and the development of the transportation system right from the start
    some 40 years ago. Two of very first Valley Metro CEO’s knew it, when the
    first light rail section was built, and you have proceeded anyway. Recently,
    the Phoenix City Council approved yet another, so far the most wasteful and
    very ineffective extension in the South Phoenix. This one billion dollar, five
    mile section, being built against the will of the citizens in this part of the City.
    This is an investment of $100,000 per each estimated passenger (if the
    estimate of 5000 passengers/day is in each direction); if this 5,000
    passengers/day is all of the daily boardings, then the cost is $200,000 for
    each of them. That brings the potential utilization of this light rail facility to
    only about of 2% in the rush hours.

    This extension is also reducing the Central Avenue traffic to only two lanes
    (one in each direction), while not reducing the traffic flow using it, and still
    running buses along the way.

    While I was serving on several transit research project panels of the
    Transportation Research Board, the National Academy of Science in
    Washington, D.C., a Mass Transit Administration representative approach me
    stating to me how wrong the light rail transit development in Phoenix is; this
    was some 15 years ago. He was the one monitoring this “New Starts”
    projects, that’s what they called them. What a hypocrisy, what an
    irresponsibility of all of those who knew it then if they could have done
    something about it. The worst of all, so many still do not know it today !!!
    You have to start a completely different process of the transit development;
    although it appears to be already too late. Does anybody know what it is ???

    Finally, the public has found out about being severely failed by you. Damage has been done, there is no real return on these investments, just the continuing tax burden of the millions of dollars needed for the operating costs. Even if someone would start the new transit development the right way, you have lost your credibility and any future support.

    Nothing I ever enjoyed more during my nearly 60 year transportation professional career than the light rail design and operations, which I was very much part of at one of the best transit systems in Europe. I am constantly trying to apply this experience in this beautiful Phoenix Valley. Unfortunately, meeting only with the disdain and ignorance of the politicians, and of course all of you. I am very disappointed with many of you who I had
    the opportunity to work with and you still do not understand any of the very basics of the multimodal transit system development, although, you do not have any opportunity for learn about it.

    There are nearly hundreds of my articles, several presentations on the
    “Effective Design of Transit Operations”, the real “Application of ITS in
    Transit Operations”, and comments, which are available to you, unless you
    again prefer to listen to politicians, innovation visionaries, and self
    proclaimed expert transit evangelists.

    The major irony of all is in this statement::
    “The mission of the Arizona Transit Association (AzTA) is to provide
    leadership in the funding, advocacy, and education for public
    transportation services throughout Arizona”

    Someone in one these transportation agencies needs to find enough ambition
    to start learning about the proper transit design and transit operations
    management, primarily (maybe only) abroad, and only than take the
    leadership in this field. Meanwhile, stop all of the waste of funding until
    someone gets his/her act together.

    Very much YES on the proposition 105 !!! Long overdue.

    Ing. Rudolf Kolaja, P.E., T.E., PTOE

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.