PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - This summer, Phoenix voters will be asked to decide: build more light rail or stop all expansion?
About 26 miles of light rail line weave through Valley streets. The City of Phoenix wants to build five more, right in front the Pete’s Fish and Chips Byron Waldrep manages in south Phoenix.
"They have to clean up feces, drug needles, vomit each morning. It's not good,” Waldrep says of his experience with the existing light rail line.
For months, he and other business owners have been fighting the expansion.
One group, 'Building a Better Phoenix,' even collected 20,000 signatures to let the public decide what to do next.
That initiative was just approved by Phoenix City Council and will be on the ballot in the August special election.
Business owner Celia Contreras is not a part of Building a Better Phoenix. But she says she plans to vote on it anyway to stop all future expansion.
She would like to see the City spend the money the City already has on things like roads improvements and more bus routes.
“Why not if it's a chance, it's a chance. We need to take any chance,” said Contreras.
Amy Peiffer says she’d enjoy seeing more routes, not less.
"I work downtown, so I take it every day, Monday through Friday,” said Peiffer. “I would like to go more up north. They should expand it a little bit more."
Valley Metro says if voters pass this initiative, existing lines would still be maintained, but it says it could impact future transportation funding and regional mobility.
Valley Metro's Quality of Life Report shows the following has occurred due to light rail:
• $11 billion in public and private investment since light rail construction began
• 35,000+ jobs have been created within one-half mile of light rail since 2008
• 20 percent increase in jobs in the Central Ave corridor since 2005
• $2.6 billion capital investment in educational facilities including 60 new projects and 5.5 million new square feet
• 39% of household income is spent on housing and transportation within the light rail corridor, compared to 53 percent in Maricopa County
• 2,200 new affordable housing units in the corridor since construction began