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Community celebration slated for light rail


December 23, 2008

Metro and City of Phoenix officials will culminate 12 years of planning, research, construction and development of the Valley’s new light rail system with a downtown celebration set this for this weekend.

The “Phoenix Rising” community celebration is slated from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Dec. 27 at the Metro Light Rail stop at Third Street and Washington. Tours, refreshments and entertainment will be included in the seven-hour extravaganza. Admission is free. Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon and U.S. Rep. Ed Pastor are scheduled to make opening remarks a half-hour before the 10 a.m. launch.

“Metro provides another transportation solution to the Valley, and that’s critical to livable communities,” said Pastor, who was instrumental in helping secure federal support for the $1.4 billion dollar project. “It provides mobility for residents, helps with traffic congestion and air-quality problems, supports tourism and keeps our economy strong and growing.”

Participants are also invited to tour the recently completed Phoenix Convention Center at 100 N. Third St. The facility includes 900,000 square feet of modeling and exhibition space, making it one of the top-20 convention centers in the United States.

The 20-mile system is among the largest and most ambitious light rail launches in U.S. history. Metro Phoenix joins other light rail systems in the West, including Denver, San Diego and Salt Lake City.

Initial planning for Metro began in October 1996 with a federally funded study that recommended a light rail transit system connecting Phoenix with outlying cities. Designed to travel through the Valley’s key business, education, cultural and employment centers, the Metro light rail system is made up of 28 stations, eight park-and-rides, and five transit centers for bus connections. Metro officials anticipate at least 26,000 boardings per day.

Metro Light Rail will start service on Dec. 27 and will offer free rides from Dec. 27 until Dec. 31. Revenue service will start Thursday, Jan. 1, 2009.

For more information on Metro Light Rail, call (602) 254-RAIL or visit www.MetroLightRail.org.