Happening Now

Victory (2:1) in the Valley of the Sun

August 30, 2019

Four-time public vote champion Phoenix Light Rail wins again!

by Madi Butler

It is with pride that we congratulate the efforts of the multitudes of citizens, organizers, volunteers, and elected officials that fought hard to end this reckless and short-sighted proposition. This is testimony to the efficacy of grassroots organizing, coalition-building, and citizen engagement. After I left the event in Phoenix earlier this month, I felt confident in those involved at a local level. I do want to thank members of the Southwest Transit Memes for Desert-Oriented Teens and Urban Phoenix Project, as well as the community at large for their support and candor. It was nice to hear first hand from local organizers as we at the Association do what we can to support their initiatives and call out those outside forces miring the integrity of the local democratic vote.

Our group Southwest Transit Memes for Desert-Oriented Teens helped create a social media presence for the NO on 105 campaign by creating memes, sharing articles and giving multiple organizations a platform to reach out to people who wanted to help protect the light rail. The purpose of our group is to be sort of an elementary forum where people can engage in transit issues in our region to learn more about them, and discuss good transit methods that would work well for us on a local level. If it wasn’t for the many members of our group, and people such as you Madi, with the Rail Passengers Association who helped shine light on this issue, the No on Prop 105 would not have been as successful as it was.

We expect the already planned light rail expansions in the City of Phoenix to greatly improve access for many of our lower income residents across the city, reduce traffic congestion, hopefully contribute to reducing our air pollution. The Phoenix metro is the fastest growing in the nation, and we need to address the growing pains for our residents by keeping commutes to a minimum and show everyone that Phoenix cares about having an efficient and sustainable future.

- Southwest Transit Memes for Desert-Oriented Teens

It has been a tremendous uphill battle against out of state influence and anti-rail lobbyists galore. How does this open up the future of multimodal connectivity in Phoenix? What positive changes will we see to the job market in a city reducing its dependence on cars, parking lots, and reducing congestion and pollution? Will those shady investors in anti-rail propaganda take the hint?

"We just crushed [Americans for Prosperity] and their anti-transit allies nearly 2-to-1 to keep our train moving and growing. This is the fourth consecutive time we've voted to grow our public transit system in Phoenix which suggests we're not quite what some outsiders think we are. It's true that Phoenix isn't the easiest town for urbanism, but that's what makes this work so important, and we plan on succeeding."

- Urban Phoenix Project

Other cities in the sunbelt should be paying attention. This will be a huge win for the population at large and will hopefully encourage more citizens to engage the rail, take new routes, and leave the automobile behind. While there will be growing pains, what this has the capacity to do for the economy and its daily commuters is massive. Phoenix has voted in favor of the light rail four times now. It should be transparent to not only the Americans for Prosperity but to the contrarians that the rails are here to stay.