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"PHX Sky Train project picking up speed, economic steam"
Friday, June 17, 2011
Sky Train project picking up speed, economic steam
The Arizona Republic
While so much economic development seems stuck in idle, PHX Sky Train is
The new rail connection to Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport is key
to positioning Arizona for the future, ready to handle increasing air
traffic as the economy picks up. That's a boost for tourism, convention
activity and business.
To make the budget feasible, Sky Train was originally going to be built in
two widely separated stages. The first part, from 44th Street in Phoenix to
the East Economy Lot and Terminal 4, is under construction now and scheduled
to open in 2013. But the links to Terminals 2 and 3 weren't going to be
finished until 2020.
That delay was not in the image of a dynamic urban area.
With some belt tightening and higher fee revenue thanks to an uptick in
passengers, the airport scraped together $240 million to connect all
terminals by early 2015. That's almost six years ahead of schedule. On
Wednesday, the City Council approved the proposal, which requires no city
Finding a way forward is gratifying because Phoenix was skunked in its
application for federal stimulus money for the second phase. The feds put up
$370 million for the first part of the $1.5 billion rail system. Still in
need of funding is a link to the Rental Car Center.
All this construction is creating jobs when the Valley urgently needs them.
Mayor Phil Gordon has done well in continuing to push this project, and
airport management deftly found a way to speed it up.
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