Mesa light rail fans should be pretty excited about yesterday’s news that crucial federal funds are likely coming soon.
Even though our light rail system is just shy of one year old, we have been talking about expansion in Mesa for quite some time. Of course, funding is always a question, as is demand, economic development, and ridership patterns. It appears that Mesa will be getting funds from the federal “Small Starts” program which funds transportation projects costing between $50 million and $250 million.
Mesa’s extension is now said to have a price tag of $227 million. According to Mesa’s web site the costs will be paid as follows:
• The $75 million Small Starts grant.
• Other federal grants totaling $35 million.
• Local Proposition 400 money totaling $117 million.
Federal money will thus fund about 48 percent of the project.
The extension will take light rail through downtown Mesa to just east of Mesa Drive ( last I heard ). My opinion has been that the Main Street alignment is the best choice, even though there was discussion about going north or south of Main when they got to Country Club, so that Main street shops were not disturbed.
In this case, it is a good thing for our friends in Mesa that the “check is in the mail”!