Valley Metro rail extension gets FTA approval to enter engineering

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Valley Metro’s South Central Light Rail Extension/Downtown Hub reached its next funding milestone with the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) approval to enter into engineering.

The approval moves the project forward in the capital grants program, which is anticipated to provide a significant share of the project’s overall funding. It also reaffirms FTA’s commitment to the project and their positive rating in such areas as cost effectiveness, technical capability, financial readiness, and effective land use planning.

Entry into Engineering allows for the continuation of engineering and pre-construction activities, such as procurement of long-lead special trackwork for the project. Continued momentum allows Valley Metro and the city of Phoenix to maintain commitments to Phoenix voters by advancing the South Central project and completing significant portions of underground and roadway work in downtown ahead of Super Bowl 2023.

Valley Metro is seeking federal funding from FTA’s Capital Investment Grant (CIG) program for the South Central Extension/Downtown Hub, which will provide a seamless connection between South Central Phoenix and the downtown core, serve a high-demand corridor, and provide convenient transfers across the regional rail system as part of the Downtown Hub.

A full funding grant agreement is expected in 2020. Pre-construction work, including street improvements to relieve congestion along 7th Street and 7th Avenue, is planned to begin in summer 2019. Relocation of underground utilities will begin in downtown Phoenix in fall 2019. Construction is scheduled for portions of the line in spring 2020.