Tempe Events Celebrate First Arizona Light Rail Opening

TEMPE, Ariz. — The City of Tempe is celebrating the opening of Arizona’s first light rail system with special events from Dec. 27-31.

The cities of Phoenix and Mesa will also have parties along the line, creating a 20-mile celebration.

Tempe is the only Arizona city to have a light rail system that runs from one city border to the other. The $1.4 billion, 20-mile line joins Tempe with Mesa and Phoenix to create an integrated transportation system connecting rail, buses and bicycles. Downtown Tempe is minutes from Sky Harbor International Airport and Tempe is surrounded by freeways, creating a synergy of travel choices.

A bridge across Tempe Town Lake puts on a colorful light show each time a light rail train crosses. A LEED Gold certified maintenance facility and new Transportation Center pending LEED certification provide a seamless transition from rail to bus or bike.

This system provides economic relief and is a sustainable option to traffic and air quality issues. About 26,000 daily passengers are expected the first year, with the system capacity of 50,000 riders in 2020.

The $1.4 billion rail system includes 28 stations, nine parking locations, a maintenance facility and many trains.

— Wire reports