Phoenix City Council to 'pause' Light Rail expansion project amid opposition to plan

Amid opposition, the Phoenix City Council has voted, 6-2, to "pause" a light rail expansion project into South Phoenix Wednesday.

In 2015, 55 percent of voters passed Proposition 104, which is part of a transportation plan that costs over $31 billion. The plan increased the transit sales tax to expand light rail and bus service, as well as repairing and building roadways, and creating bike lanes.

Seventy-five percent of those who live along the light rail voted in favor of Proposition 104, but some people are now speaking out against the planned expansion along south Central Avenue. The meeting Wednesday was marked with both confusion and passion, as both sides spoke out.

"The fifth-largest city in the U.S. deserves a 21st Century transportation," said one woman.

"A vote today in stopping that is a vote against single mothers and single fathers," said one man.

Some, like Councilmember Jim Waring, are concerned about the project becoming a boondoggle for the Valley.

I suspect that if this light rail gets built where it's supposed to get built, on the streets it's supposed to get built on, that most of you aren't going to like it," said Waring. "If it's gonna be two lanes, and you've already expressed how you feel about that. Or a lot of businesses are going to go because they going to be bulldozed to make room for the new train."

After the vote to take a step back and look at the design for 90 days, residents say they get a chance to breathe.

"It gives us time because we still feel that, as citizens, that as we unite, we can have them take it to 24th St, South Mountain College, there's the shopping center there," said Francis Castillo.