[delay +1 hour]
“The path to move forward with the South Central Light Rail Project has been a complex road to maneuver, but ultimately I believe it arrived at the right place, and I am proud to have supported the decision to do so. As important as this decision was however, we cannot lose sight of the deeper implications it has on the local community and the future of multi-modal transit in the City of Phoenix.
We need to work to restore trust and dignity to a community which has been historically traumatized and ignored. We need to ensure that this project does not result in the unfair and inequitable displacement of residents and families. We need to hold developers accountable and make sure there is conscientious investment in the future of South Phoenix. We need to make sure that future housing options along the alignment are useful and affordable. This is not really about two lanes or four lanes, it is about honoring and maintaining the historic and continued vibrancy of a proud community, and ensuring it gets its fair share of equitable facilities and amenities in an inclusive and impartial manner. This decision is also bigger than just this project. This is about the future of Light Rail in Phoenix as we know it. It is about the planned Metrocenter and State Capitol and I-10 West extensions. It is about the proposal to divert future Light Rail funding and projects to pavement preservation. The public needs to know what is at stake, and I hope that proponents and advocates who care about diverse transit options continue to show up and speak on these items in the near and distant future.
Light Rail is an efficient and effective mode of transit and has long-ranging economic benefits. It moves more people at faster rates and is operationally cost-effective. Nevertheless, it is not meant to replace other modes, but rather work in tandem with and supplement them. This is about building a transit system and network that provides equal and equitable access and options for anyone who desires them. This project will contribute to and bolster that system, and not lead to the ruin of an entire community as some would mistakenly think. I believe in South Phoenix, and I believe that this project is important in leading our world-class city into the next phase of its continued growth through innovative development.”