Group claims to have enough signatures to force South Phoenix Light Rail extension ballot

PHOENIX (FOX 10) -- A group opposed to the Light Rail expansion in South Phoenix and other parts of the city claims it has enough petition signatures to let voters decide whether to go ahead with those plans.

If the signatures are verified, the vote will take place over the summer.

Light Rail opponents say they need 20,000 signatures to get their measure on the ballot.

"If we win the vote, the funds will be reallocated to potholes, buses for City of Phoenix," said Susan Gudino with Building A Better Phoenix. "For me, I don't want the train. It might -- it will delay emergency services by 5 to 10 minutes once light rail starts, and it will stay that way."

Building a better phoenix is the name of the campaign against light rail expansion. A website domain for the group was purchased by the Arizona Free Enterprise Club, which critics say is linked to billionaire conservative political activists known as the Koch Brothers.

"How many folks in your group?" asked FOX 10's Steve Krafft.

"There is a handful, maybe eight. Currently just eight," Gudino replied.

"I thought this was a grassroots organization?" asked Krafft.

"There are eight of us business owners. Property owners. We have support throughout all of the city," Gudino replied.

Some people in South Phoenix oppose Light Rail, because they don't think there's enough room on Central Avenue to accomodate a train and cars, but they don't like Building A Better Phoenix.

"They bring in the Free Enterprise Club, Prosperity Arizona," said Celia Contreras with Four Lanes or No Train. "And I don't know at that time these three groups supported by the Koch Brothers."

Whether there should be an expansion of the Light Rail system: that issue has been voted on over and over, it may be voted on again. The man who runs Valley Metro says they will let the voters decide.

"We obviously support Light Rail in the system. That is our job," said Scott Smith, CEO of Valley Metro. "We follow the policy voted on three times by Phoenix voters and numerous times by the council, and until that changes, we are forging ahead."