Valley Metro Opens Northwest Phase II Light Rail Extension


Valley Metro, Phoenix, AZ, celebrated the opening of the Northwest Phase II extension of light rail in Phoenix recently, with more than 2,000 people, including federal, state, and local leaders, in attendance. The project includes a series of “firsts” for Valley Metro and the community, including the first elevated station; rail-only bridge over I-17; and a multi-modal transit center named after regional transit champion, former Phoenix Mayor and Councilmember Thelda Williams.

“We have made the leap over one of our busiest and most vital freeways with a bridge that opens the door to the West Valley,” said Valley Metro CEO Jessica Mefford-Miller. “Congratulations to the Valley Metro team, our contractors, and our neighbors, working in lockstep with the city of Phoenix, to deliver a project ahead of schedule and on budget that beautifies and enriches our community.”

The project received $158 million from FTA’s Capital Investment Grant program. The city of Phoenix T2050 funds provided $213 million and regional transportation funds from Proposition 400 provided the final $30 million. Construction began in 2020, creating 3,000 direct jobs in the community and more than 6,000 indirect jobs across the U.S.

“Metro Muse” by Laurie Lundquist, Metro Parkway Station platform. The sculptures conjure an image of free-spirited acrobats, trapeze artists, or airborne skaters and build on the spirit of fun observed at the Metrocenter Mall ice skating rink and nearby amusement park.

“I am proud to be back in Phoenix, less than three years after signing the grant that funded this important extension that will make such a difference in the lives of people in this region,” said FTA Administrator Nuria Fernandez. “This was the first project funded by FTA under President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the city and Valley Metro have done incredible work building it on budget and delivering the project earlier than expected. Congratulations to all.”

The new extension includes three stations and is anticipated to initially attract 1,400 new, daily riders to the system. Crossing the I-17, the project offers greater access to the West Valley, connecting current and future riders with opportunities in central Phoenix, Tempe, and Mesa.

Featured along the extension are nine different art elements created by seven artists reflecting the character and history of the local community. Art is incorporated into the new stations, parking garage, and the Thelda Williams Transit Center. The four-story parking garage includes solar panels. The transit center is served by five bus routes and, in the future, potentially BRT.

“This project represents years and years of hard work, at the city, county, and federal level,” said Rep. Greg Stanton (D-AZ). “There’s no question light rail has been a resounding success—not just as a way to move people, but as an economic development tool. Phase II is going to connect residents in the West Valley to jobs and education in central Phoenix, and all the way to Tempe and Mesa.”